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Thursday, July 1, 1999 Published at 07:01 GMT 08:01 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Leeson faces quiz over cash

Tanah Merah jail: Nick Leeson's home until Saturday

Liquidators in Singapore acting for Barings Bank want to interview rogue trader Nick Leeson before he leaves jail on Saturday over British press reports that he has hidden money away.

David Willis reports: "Ironically he had been working in the accounts department"
The reports quote former inmates, who say the rogue trader boasted of having up to $3m stashed in secret accounts.

Barings, Britain's oldest merchant bank, collapsed with debts of more than $1.4bn as a result of Lesson's disastrous dealings.

The BBC understands that liquidators for Barings Futures Singapore has met with Leeson more than 20 times during his three and a half years in jail and that he often gave cryptic answers to their questions.

One liquidator has told the BBC they want to interview him before Saturday but added their investigations will not end with his release.

On the run

Leeson's multi-million dollar losses were only discovered after he asked for extra funds to try to claw back previous losses.

Asia Business Correspondent David Willis: "Liquidators have trawled through bank accounts"
A spot audit found the losses and Leeson went on the run as Baring collapsed.

He was arrested in Germany and extradited to Singapore where he pleaded guilty to fraud and was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison.

During his detention, he was diagnosed as suffering from colon cancer and had surgery last autumn.

Chequebook controversy

A second storm has surrounded Leeson and his release from prison.

The UK's Daily Mail newspaper has reportedly paid him a six figure sum for his story.

Under the industry's Code of Practice, convicted criminals are not allowed to profit from their crime.

But a spokeswoman for the Press Complaints Commission has told BBC News Online that the Mail could sidestep the code by giving the money to charity.

The Daily Mail is understood to be discussing how it can publish the story without breaking the code

Investors owed money as a result of Leeson's activities have suggested any donation is paid into their fund rather than a charity.

Leeson is due for release on Saturday - a week after a film of his downfall, Rogue Trader, went on general release in the UK.

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