What did Nick Leeson do, when was the Barings bank rogue trader jailed and how much money he did lose?

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NICK Leeson became infamous for the role he played in the collapse of British merchant bank Barings in the 1990s.

Here’s what we know about the notorious broker and just how much money he lost his employers…

Nick Leeson was responsible for the collapse of the UK's oldest merchant bank
Nick Leeson was responsible for the collapse of the UK’s oldest merchant bank
PA:Press Association

What did Nick Leeson do?

Former derivatives broker Nicholas William Leeson was solely responsible for bringing down the UK’s oldest merchant bank.

Fuelled by a culture of making “profits, profits, and more profits”, he made fraudulent and unauthorised moves which ruined the bank and landed him in prison.

Leeson, who has been married twice, appeared to be flying in 1992 when he made the company £10million, which accounted for 10 per cent of its annual profit.

But his luck soon turned bad and he started to use a so-called “error account” – created to correct trading mistakes – to hide his massive losses.

How much money did Leeson lose?

By the end of 1992, he had lost around £2million and this figure grew to around £208million by the end of 1994.

But his true downfall came on January 16, 1995, when he essentially bet that the Japanese stock market would not move significantly overnight.

The Kobe earthquake which killed more than 6,000 struck the next morning, sending the Asian markets into a nosedive and forcing Neeson to make a series of increasingly risky bets which did not materialise.

On February 23, he fled Singapore having lost the company £827million – twice its trading capital – after leaving a note saying: “I’m sorry.”

Leeson’s story was adapted into a Hollywood film with Ewan McGregor
YouTube

When was he jailed and why was released early?

Nick was jailed in 1995 after the shamed trader lost the bank more than £800 million through fraudulent trades and the company later collapsed.

He later went on the run and after discovering that his actions had caused the bank to collapse, Nick attempted to travel back to London to surrender to British police.

Nick had hoped to serve prison time in the UK rather than where he was working in Singapore but he was apprehended in Germany and his extradition application was denied.


He was eventually sentenced to six and a half years in prison in Singapore but was released early in 1999 after being diagnosed with colon cancer, which he later recovered from.

During his time in prison, the 51-year-old wrote his best-selling autobiography Rogue Trader, which was later adapted into the 1999 Hollywood film starring Ewan McGregor.

Nick has also become a motivational speaker and between 2005 and 2011 he had management roles at League of Ireland club Galway United.

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