Hopkins penalised for not going quietly

There is a form of rough justice in the City and yesterday it was meted out in no uncertain fashion to Ian Hopkins, one of Nick Leeson's bosses at the time of the Barings collapse. Mr Hopkins' undoing seems to have been not that he failed to supervise and control the rogue Singapore trader adequately but that he refused to plea-bargain with the regulators in return for a light sentence and instead embarked on a highly public campaign to clear his name

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that he has been penalised for presenting himself as the man who tried to blow the whistle as much as anything else. Washing dirty linen in public as opposed to behind the closed doors of an SFA tribunal is a high-risk strategy.

Yesterday Mr Hopkins paid the price. He has been banned from the City for three years, ordered to pay pounds 10,000 towards the SFA's costs, and branded as someone who is not fit and proper to be a director.

Would he have fared any better had he appeared before the tribunal to argue his case? It is hard to say but whatever the outcome he would have been a lot poorer having been landed with all the costs, including those of the SFA which has hired the lead counsel at the Scott inquiry to press its case.

How much simpler it would have been had Mr Hopkins come quietly and agreed to accept a reprimand in return for acknowledging his culpability. He would now be free to resume his livelihood. The SFA may have got its man but public sympathy is going to be with Mr Hopkins. And if that is true, then the SFA has weakened its standing.

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