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Monday, June 21, 1999 Published at 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK


Disgraced trader Leeson 'sells story'

There is a huge media interest in Leeson's story

Nick Leeson, the former Barings Bank trader, is understood to have sold the story of his life in prison to a British tabloid newspaper.

[ image: A film has been made of Leeson's story]
A film has been made of Leeson's story
The decision will anger hundreds of Barings bond holders who lost money when Leeson's disastrous futures dealings led to the bank's collapse.

Leeson, 32, is due to be released from prison in Singapore next month after serving just over half of a six-and-a-half-year sentence.

He was jailed in 1995 over an £850m fraud that toppled the merchant bank Barings plc.

Nick Higham reports: "He wants to tell the story of his time in prison"
Leeson requested early release last year on medical grounds after discovering he had cancer of the colon, but his plea was rejected.

He had surgery in August and was sent back to prison 11 days later. He is said to have responded well to chemotherapy treatment.

His early release is said to be on the grounds of good behaviour.

Movie première

There is a huge media interest in Nick Leeson's life and downfall.

His own story, told in the book Rogue Trader, spawned a film of the same name starring Ewan McGregor which has its première in London on Monday night.

Now a BBC correspondent says Leeson has sold the story of his life in jail in Singapore for an undisclosed sum to an unnamed British tabloid.

As well as causing anger to those who suffered financial losses, the tabloid deal could have other consequences.

It may also prompt condemnation from the Press Complaints Commission which oversees a newspaper editor's code of practice forbidding payment to convicted criminals.

On the run

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

He went on the run, but was extradited from Germany back to the island state.

After his conviction, Leeson wrote Rogue Trader, in which he condemned the practices of Barings that allowed him to gamble with such large amounts of money.

He gave a corresponding interview to Sir David Frost which led to the film deal.

Leeson's former wife, Lisa Sims, 30, remarried in December.

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