Leeson to be freed in July

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NICK LEESON, 32, the trader who brought down Barings bank, is to be released from jail in Singapore on 3 July for good behaviour, having served just over half of his six-and-a-half- year sentence.

Leeson, a former securities trader who crippled the merchant bank with debts of pounds 860m, previously failed in his application for early release on medical grounds after suffering cancer of the colon. He underwent an apparently successful operation last August and has received extensive chemotherapy treatment.

There is no precedent for white-collar criminals being freed early on compassionate grounds and successful applications for clemency to Singapore's president, Ong Teng Cheong, are rare. Since 1965, only one inmate has been released early because of ill health. Leeson has simply benefited in the same way any "well behaved" prisoner would, the authorities said.

It is too soon to say whether Leeson will make a full recovery from cancer, but he is said to have responded well to treatment.

When he leaves jail he will find it near-impossible to gain employment in the finance industry, in which he was once a star in the futures market.

The only income he can look forward to is royalties from his book, Rogue Trader, and payments for selling the film rights. A film of the same name, starring Ewan McGregor, based on Leeson's rise from a working- class background in Watford, is currently in production.

Leeson's wife, Lisa, has divorced him and recently married Keith Horlock, who is also in merchant banking.

Meanwhile Leeson's father, William, is also fighting cancer and is too ill to visit his son.