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Thursday, August 6, 1998 Published at 22:38 GMT 23:38 UK


'Rogue trader' facing cancer battle

Leeson is serving a six-and-a-half year jail sentence

The ex-wife of disgraced stockbroker Nick Leeson has spoken of her "deep shock" at the news that he has cancer of the colon.

[ image: Lisa Simms: her thoughts are with her ex-husband Nick Leeson]
Lisa Simms: her thoughts are with her ex-husband Nick Leeson
Lisa Sims has not seen her ex-husband in more than a year.

The news of his illness comes just days after it was revealed that she is to wed another city trader, Keith Horlock, on August 15.

Ms Sims has now decided to postpone the wedding.

The family cancelled the wedding, at a luxury house in Bexley, Kent on Thursday morning.

Breaking the bank

Nick Leeson was jailed for fraud following the collapse of Barings Bank in 1995. He had run up losses of 850m on the Far East stock markets.

The 31-year-old is currently serving a six-and-a-half year prison sentence for his part in the bank's collapse.

Hospital wing

His lawyer has begun proceedings for his early release on medical grounds. He confirmed that Leeson is suffering from cancer and said it had spread to his lymph nodes.

[ image: A film has been made about Leeson's story]
A film has been made about Leeson's story
The British High Commission in Singapore said Leeson was moved at the weekend to the hospital wing of the prison.

He has been visited by a consular official but no further details of his condition have been released.

According to Prof Gordon McVie, director general of the Cancer Research Campaign, Leeson has a 50-50 chance of survival.

He said the spread of the disease from the colon gave him a much "poorer" prognosis, 90% of bowel cancer patients survive compared with 50% when the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.

According to the High Commission, moves are now under way to request Leeson's early release on medical grounds.

He could be transferred to a civilian hospital.

His father, William, said he did not believe that conditions in the Singapore prison could have contributed to his illness.

"The jail is A1. It is as good as gold," he said.

'Rogue Trader'

Leeson shot to notoriety in February 1995 when it emerged that the merchant bank, Barings, for whom he worked in Singapore as a trader, faced collapse because of huge losses he had incurred in Far Eastern markets.

After a failed attempt to flee, he was extradited from Germany back to Singapore, where he was convicted of fraud and jailed.

At first Leeson's wife Lisa vowed to stand by her husband, and in April 1996 she joined an airline as a stewardess with the aim of using her flights to make regular visits him in prison.

But she began to distance herself from him after his book Rogue Trader was published in June 1997, and the couple divorced at the end of last year.

Leeson's ex-wife now uses her maiden name Sims and lives in Kent.

A feature film about Leeson entitled Rogue Trader is due for release next year.

It will star Trainspotting actor Ewan McGregor as Leeson and former Brookside actress Anna Friel as his wife.

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