The Barings anti-hero leaves prison this week as a celluloid celebrity. Whatever happened to the supporting cast? asks Dan Gledhill

Rogue Trader, the film dramatising Nick Leeson's meteoric rise and equally sudden fall, opened in cinemas across the country on Friday to mixed reviews. There was no such critical ambivalence when the original tale of his part in the downfall of Barings bank unfolded in February 1995.

This was the business story of the decade, and far, far more besides. It had everything. Working-class boy from Watford defrocks one of Britain's most venerable banking dynasties, conferring infamy on the kind of aristocrats to whom his ancestors bowed and scraped.

The Baring family, a name redolent of country estates maintained with old English money, found its nemesis in a distant corner of Asia reeking of the vulgar nouveau riche.

Simex, Singapore's futures trading floor, was a gladiatorial arena populated by upstart expat British traders vying to make their fortunes in an environment as heartlessly meritocratic as the City of London was effortlessly elitist.

The wealth was instant, and instantly disposable. At night, many traders squandered their cash on Singapore's vibrant nightlife. Even with the reassuring presence of his wife Lisa, it is easy to see how Leeson could lose touch with reality as the losses in his infamous 88888 account multiplied from a few thousand quid to the pounds 860m that ultimately brought the bank down.

Like any ripping yarn, Leeson's romp has left ample material for a series of sequels. There were the botched attempts by the City's pinstriped overlords to save an institution that was very much "One of us". But the financial grandees summoned by the Bank of England to dig Barings out of its hole were dealing with tools they did not understand; derivatives were the instruments of Leeson's generation.

Then there was the ignoble struggle of Leeson's superiors to secure the six-figure bonuses they had "earned", despite presiding over the demise of a 233- year-old institution. Eventually Barings was snapped up by Dutch group ING - renamed ING Barings in memoriam to the passing of a chunk of British history.

A rather more laudable struggle continues to this day and is being fought by the hundreds of bondholders, who in many cases had entrusted their life savings to Barings. Theirs has been a four-and-a half-year saga of unrelenting disappointment which has so far yielded little or nothing of the pounds 100m they lost when Barings collapsed.

And then there is Leeson himself, who is due to be released on Saturday after his four-year sojourn in Singapore's Changi prison. Among his former superiors, heads have rolled and reputations been besmirched, but there was never any question where the buck would stop. After his attempts to escape to British justice, Leeson returned to Singapore via Frankfurt in 1995 to receive an exemplary six-and-a half-year jail sentence. Good behaviour has earned him an early release but colonic cancer clouds a future that he must face without Lisa, who has since left him and remarried.

If Leeson has developed a taste for literature in prison, as many inmates do, he may have alighted on the works of Thomas Hardy to make some sense of the "whirligig" his life had become. Like Michael Henchard in The Mayor of Casterbridge, Leeson's ambition and single-mindedness drove him to unexpected heights. But it was the flipside of these qualities, pride and stubborness, which caused his downfall.

Still, the film studios will be queueing up to make the follow-ups and the supporting cast will come to the fore.

Peter Baring

The Baring scion joined the family bank in 1959 and rose smoothly through the ranks to the chairmanship until his brilliant career was rudely interrupted by Leeson's antics.

Although he was cleared of responsibility for the bank's flop, Baring never recovered from the scathing reviews that greeted his performance as lead foil to the rogue trader. Now 63, he has since followed the critics' advice and retired from the City.

Andrew Tuckey

As deputy chairman, Tuckey was Peter Baring's understudy and took a similar amount of flak for his role in the debacle. However, he has since tried to revive his career as far as is possible within the confines of a curriculum vitae that includes this performance. He now works as a senior adviser to DLJ Phoenix, the American investment bank.

Ron Baker

Of all the main players, Baker was the one most adamant in his refusal to take his roasting lying down. Leeson's immediate boss at the time of the collapse fought a three-year battle for the pounds 880,000 bonus he claims was his based on alleged verbal assurances from Tuckey. Unfortunately, Oxford Crown Court decided otherwise last year and Baker's subsequent career has failed to match the heady days at Barings.

Nick Ritblat

The son of property tycoon John, Nick Ritblat has always refused to reveal the scale of the losses he incurred by backing the Barings flop.

Most galling for Nick, who also sits on the board of British Land, he invested in the project just nine months before the bank's collapse. He has become a figurehead for the other out-of-pocket investors as the battle for compensation continues.

Eddie George

Cast as a rather unlikely white knight, the portly George was Governor of the Bank of England, whose efforts to rally round City bigwigs to the task of rescuing Barings earned widespread criticism.

Unlike his then-deputy Rupert Pennant-Rea, who resigned a month later after the revelation of an affair with a journalist, George has never looked back. He remains in his post and has earned plaudits for his role in "Steady Eddie the Inflation-Buster".

Lisa Leeson

Nick's romantic lead was the great discovery of the Barings epic, but she has chosen not to capitalise on her undoubted box-office appeal. Praised for her unflinching devotion to the story's anti-hero, Lisa eventually tired of living in the shadow of her first great role.

She and Nick divorced and she has chosen a rather less high-profile City banker as her new husband.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before