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Saturday, July 3, 1999 Published at 18:32 GMT 19:32 UK


UK

Leeson: The price of fame

Leeson stayed in Tanah Merah jail one more day to avoid the press

For someone rumoured to have sold his story to a newspaper for a six-figure sum, rogue trader Nick Leeson seems uncharacteristically fearful of the media.

He was so nervous of facing the press on the day of his release from a Singapore jail, he was prepared to stay in his small cell for one more day to avoid the frenzy of journalists and photographers.


[ image: McGregor and Friel in Rogue Trader the movie]
McGregor and Friel in Rogue Trader the movie
They had waited days outside the prison to catch a glimpse of the man set free after more than four years for bringing about the collapse of Barings - the UK's oldest bank.

His lawyer, Stephen Pollard, visited him on Friday night and said he was "extremely nervous about what was going to confront him the next morning with regards to press attention".

Mr Pollard also refused to confirm stories that Leeson, who lost Barings £850m, has sold his story to The Daily Mail for £100,000.

"Mr Leeson has never intended, in anything he's done or I've done for him, to try and create a situation where he can come out and lord it as a wealthy man," he Radio 4's Today programme.

The film Rogue Trader came went on general release last month in the UK with heart-throb Ewan McGregor as the "hero" and Anna Friel as Leeson's ex-wife Lisa.

The film's executive producer, Sir David Frost - who had interviewed Leeson in prison - came to his defence, saying the original rogue trader would only get 5% of any profits made.

Suspicion

Although Leeson's assets have been frozen, liquidators investigating Barings' collapse have made it clear that the case is not closed.


[ image: The famous grin first appeared in 1995]
The famous grin first appeared in 1995
They plan to keep investigating whether Leeson has any money hidden away from his Barings days, fearing he has another trick up his sleeve.

Their suspicion was sparked by British press reports that he had boasted to former inmates that he had £3m stashed away for his homecoming.


[ image: ..and re-appeared on Sunday]
..and re-appeared on Sunday
Leeson has inspired a mix of emotions in the reading and viewing public.

There is a sneaking admiration for an employee who brought down an insitution, sympathy for a prisoner abroad struck down with cancer and now, a free but divorced man, left to rebuild his life.

But there is also contempt for his crime.





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