Sunday 17 December 2017

Rogue trader Leeson urges Drumm to fly back for questioning

Nick Leeson
Nick Leeson

Ed Carty

Rogue trader Nick Leeson has urged the former head of Anglo Irish Bank to return to Ireland to answer for the toxic lender's collapse.

The broker, whose spectacular £862m (€1.1bn) gambles broke Barings Bank in 1995, warned David Drumm he was deluding himself by refusing to leave the US.

The former Anglo chief executive, who fled Dublin after its collapse in 2008, is planning to appeal against a Boston court's order not to write off €10m debts at the same time as he faces a possible extradition order from Irish authorities.

Leeson, who went on the run for all of three days as the venerable Barings institution that the Queen banked with went bust in February 1995, said the first instinct is like that of an animal - self-preservation - but Mr Drumm now has to think about the rest of his life.

"You can liken it to depression, to alcoholism, to any form of drug addiction - until you actually physically and mentally accept what you are doing you are not going to get better, you are not going to move forward," he said.

"Drumm for me has this huge issue that he needs to deal with for his own well being and if he does not do that he's just deluding himself.

"I'm sure it does not look particularly healthy when he's thinking of coming back and what he's going to face - the Anglo tapes won't have done him any favours - it's all out there, but for me he should get on the plane."

Leeson this week reflected on 20 years since Barings went bust.

Britain's oldest merchant bank had traded successfully since 1762, including financing the sale of Louisiana from France, until the rogue trader sent a fax on February 23 from his Singapore base announcing he was ill and was resigning.

His reckless trading floor gambles had sunk the old bank.

But any debt comparisons with Anglo pale into insignificance - Irish taxpayers were saddled with a €30bn debt pile for toxic lending.

The former trader, who now has a comfortable life in Galway and earns thousands of euro a year making after dinner speeches and working as a debt management consultant, said he has learned from how he handled his own personal crisis, and Mr Drumm should too.

"Come back and get it over and done with," he said.

"From a personal perspective it can't be doing him any good," Leeson added.

Irish Independent

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