Rogue trader Nick Leeson finally tells boss 'sorry'

6th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Rogue trader Nick Leeson for the first time told his old boss "sorry" for single-handedly bringing down Barings Bank, in a face-to-face meeting to be broadcast Sunday.

Peter Norris told Leeson he wanted to punch his "lights out" as the scale of his deeds emerged.

Leeson's risk-taking deals bankrupted Britain's Barings Bank in 1995 after losing $1.3 billion on bond derivatives.

"Remorse is a word that is bandied around an awful lot, but I am sorry and my apology to Peter is genuine," Leeson said on the BBC radio programme "The Reunion".

Leeson was given a jail term of six-and-a-half years in Singapore for illegally concealing trading losses and served four years of his sentence.

He admitted he did not know whether his apology would "make any difference".

Leeson took ever greater risks in an attempt to recoup his losses, which spiralled out of control.

He went on the run, leaving a note on his desk reading "sorry". He was brought back to Singapore to face trial. While in prison he was diagnosed as suffering from colon cancer and his first marriage broke down.

After his conviction Leeson wrote a bestseller, "Rogue Trader", which was made into a film starring Ewan McGregor.

"I was losing tens of millions of pounds (dollars) on a daily basis," he said.

"Towards the end it could have been more -- hundreds of millions. I was blinkered, attempting to extract myself from the situation. I never thought that the bank would collapse. I didn't even know what the bank was worth."

Norris, who had not met Leeson since the bank's collapse, recalled seeing the first television pictures of him being taken into custody at Frankfurt airport in 1995.

He told him: "I think I wanted to punch your lights out".

What remained of Barings, which counted Queen Elizabeth II among its customers, was bought by the Dutch group ING for a nominal fee of one pound ($1.65, 1.15 euros).

© 2011 AFP

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