Ex-trader for Barings lands job in Irish soccer

Leeson to be a manager of Galway United Football

April 19, 2005|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

LONDON - Nick Leeson, the "rogue trader" who brought down Britain's Barings PLC bank 10 years ago, has landed a new job: commercial manager of the Galway United Football Club, an Irish soccer team.

As Barings' head trader in Singapore, Leeson made spiraling losses totaling $1.3 billion that pushed the 240-year-old bank into insolvency in 1995. ING Groep NV, a Dutch financial services company, eventually bought its assets for one pound ($1.90).

Leeson, 38, and his wife and three children have lived in Galway for 2 1/2 years, and he will take up his new post next week, club Chairman John Fallon said in a phone interview. Leeson said he is "really looking forward" to the challenge in the west of Ireland.

"It is inevitable I will always be associated with Barings Bank, but after everything which has happened I have moved on and I hope other people have as well," Leeson said on the soccer club's Web site. He said he is a "very keen football fan."

Fallon said it was "impossible to ignore" the events that had made Leeson known worldwide. "But long after the fanfare about his appointment has passed, Nick Leeson will be tasked with the demanding job of implementing a series of commercial initiatives aimed at developing Galway United FC," he said.

Leeson fled Singapore after running out of money in February 1995, later surrendering to authorities in Germany. He served a prison sentence in Singapore for fraud.

While in prison, he wrote a book on his experiences, Rogue Trader, which was later made into a film, and in recent years he has earned money from speaking engagements and by writing articles.

Last month, he advised John Rusnak, the former Allfirst Financial Inc. currency trader now serving a 7 1/2 -year prison sentence for covering up $691 million in losses, to "be truly remorseful."

"Ultimately, Mr. Rusnak's basic integrity and honesty were tested during this affair, as was mine during my time at Barings, and both of us failed those tests dismally," Leeson wrote in an e-mail exchange with The Sun. "We have to accept the responsibility and the blame as a consequence."

AllFirst owner Allied Irish Banks PLC subsequently sold the Baltimore-based bank to M&T Bank Corp. of Buffalo.

Galway United has been playing professional football in Ireland for 27 years, the Web site said, and has represented Ireland in European competitions three times.

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