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Wednesday, June 30, 1999 Published at 12:31 GMT 13:31 UK


Tabloid may escape Leeson censure

Leeson was interviewed by David Frost for the BBC

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has said a tabloid newspaper may get away with paying £100,000 for the story of rogue trader Nick Leeson.

The Daily Mail is said to have offered a "six-figure sum" to interview Leeson, the man who brought down Barings Bank in 1995, on his release from prison in Singapore.

[ image: Nick Leeson will be freed from jail on Saturday]
Nick Leeson will be freed from jail on Saturday
He is to be freed from his maximum security jail on Saturday and is to fly back to London overnight.

Under the PCC's Code of Practice, convicted criminals are not allowed to profit from their crime. But a spokeswoman told BBC News Online that if the Mail gave the money to charity, it would sidestep the code.

"If they make a payment to charity then they are not making a direct payment to him, his family, associates or colleagues, so that would be okay," she said.

But she added: "If we get a complaint in writing then we would have to investigate it."

The Mail is believed to be consulting the PCC about how to secure Leeson's story without breaching the guidelines.

[ image: Ewan McGregor and Anna Friel at the première of Rogue Trader, a film about Nick Leeson's life]
Ewan McGregor and Anna Friel at the première of Rogue Trader, a film about Nick Leeson's life
It is thought to be considering donating the money to a cancer charity.

Leeson, sentenced in December 1995 to six and a half years in jail, has contracted cancer of the colon and has a 30% chance of dying within five years.

Last year The Daily Mail paid the parents of former au pair Louise Woodward, convicted in the US for the manslaughter of baby Matthew Eappen, a reported £40,000 for an interview.

Ms Woodward reached an out-of-court settlement with the Eappens preventing her from personally profiting from her story and is to give any payment she receives to the charity Unicef.

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