Leeson to face SFO next week

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The Serious Fraud Office said last night that it is sending representatives to Frankfurt next week to interview Nick Leeson, the trader blamed for the collapse of Barings Bank.

A spokeswoman said the interview with Mr Leeson, scheduled to begin on Wednesday, would probably last a few days and would be conducted under caution by an accountant and two police officers.

The SFO statement followed an earlier announcement of the decision by Mr Leeson's solicitor, Stephen Pollard, who denied that his statement was designed to embarrass the SFO.

The SFO has been reluctant to say exactly when its team would travel to Frankfurt for fear of exciting too much media attention.

"I do not wish to turn this into a media circus, but I think people have a right to know when this interview is taking place," Mr Pollard said yesterday.

Mr Leeson has made it clear that he is prepared to plead guilty to criminal charges if he were to be tried in Britain. However, the SFO feels Mr Leeson should be tried in Singapore, where he worked for Barings until the bank's collapse.