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Nicholas Leeson is best known for trading the Barings out of existence by hiding losses for years.
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After nearly nine months in Germany, spent trying to avoid it, Leeson was finally extradited to Singapore for trial and sentencing.
In December 1995, Nicholas Leeson was charged by the authorities in Singapore with fraud in the deception of his superiors as to the riskiness of his activities and the scale of his losses. They did, however,
acknowledge that he had been given authorization for the January 16 "short straddle."
Leeson pleaded guilty to forging documents and misleading SIMEX and was sentenced to six and a half years in a Singapore prison, rife with vicious gangs. The sentence was back-dated to his arrest on March 2, 1995.
Devastated by this turn of events, Leeson's wife Lisa found work as an airhostess so that she could visit him regularly. It was not long before their marriage began to show signs of strain. The last straw was Leeson's brazen infidelity with Geisha girls and Lisa divorced him immediately.
While still in prison in 1996, Leeson wrote an autobiography, Rogue Trader, that detailed his acts. It was later made into a film of the same name, released in 1999, starring Ewan McGregor and Anna Friel. In the autobiography, Leeson placed much of the blame for his crimes on Barings's own deficient internal auditing and risk management practices. There were many observers who agreed with this view.
When he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1999, with dire forecasts, Leeson was released from prison. He returned to the United Kingdom, where he underwent chemotherapy, losing both his hair and a great deal of weight. He was a shadow of his former self and his lavish lifestyle had certainly evaporated. He had no home and no work, but friends and family supported him during his recovery period.
Always a survivor, Leeson overcame his illness and went on to make money from his bad experiences. He was paid a considerable fee for his book to be serialized in The Mail newspaper. In 2001 he began studying for a psychology degree at Middlesex University in England, which he completed.
Describing himself as one of Britain's most sought-after speakers, Leeson is a regular guest on the after-dinner speaking circuit. He presents talks to companies on risk management and does conference speaking, based on his experiences.
In April 2005, Leeson was appointed Commercial Manager of Galway United Football Club and was made General Manager in November 2005. Following the success of his autobiography, Leeson co-authored Back from the Brink: Coping with Stress with British psychologist Ivan Tyrrell. The book, published in 2005, picks up the story where the first left off, including in-depth conversations with Tyrrell.
Leeson now lives in Barna, County Galway, Ireland, with his second wife, Leona Tormay, a beautician, and their three children: Leona's son and daughter from her first marriage and their own son, born in 2004. Leeson still deals on the stock market, but uses his own money.
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