Attorney General denies Leeson 'cover-up'

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Indy Politics
The Attorney General, Sir Nicholas Lyell, denied in the Commons yesterday an accusation of a lack of concern by investigators "bordering on a cover-up" surrounding the former Barings trader Nick Leeson.

Denis MacShane (Lab, Rotherham) said at question time that there was "great concern" that Mr Leeson had not been interviewed by the Serious Fraud Office. Mr Leeson is being held in Frankfurt after fleeing Singapore following the collapse of Barings Bank with debts of nearly pounds 900m. He faces four charges of forgery and eight of "cheating" in connection with multi-million-pound futures trading.

Mr MacShane said: "He is sitting in a Frankfurt prison barely an hour's flight from London, after losing pounds 1m belonging to the Queen, the savings of many investors and causing a major bank to shut down. Yet nobody has gone to ask him a simple question about this.

"There is now great concern as the hangman state of Singapore is seeking Mr Leeson's return for their form of justice.

"Many people here find the lack of interest and concern by the investigative authorities bordering on a cover-up."

Sir Nicholas insisted: "I am surprised you should make such an allegation. The matter is being looked at with great care by the SFO and by the authorities in Singapore.

"The SFO has made applications to the courts in Singapore for detailed information which it would require to forward its investigations. They were not granted at that stage, and the SFO continues to pursue its inquiries," he said.