Rumour Leeson has stashed $24m denied

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 July, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 July, 1999, 12:00am

Nick Leeson's lawyer has mocked a British tabloid newspaper's claims that the jailed rogue futures trader has GBP2 million (about HK$24.45 million) secretly stashed away for after his release from Singapore prison today.

Stephen Pollard, of London solicitors Kingsley Napley, insisted his client was penniless and said The Daily Express allegations of hidden bank accounts were 'not even worth responding to'.

Mr Pollard said: 'It really reflects more I suspect journalists' needs to justify their expenses more than anything else.

'The liquidators and investigators in England and Singapore have crawled over the figures for the last four years.

'He has seen the liquidators over 10 times since he has been in Tanah Merah [prison]. He has answered every question they have ever asked him and given them all the assistance he can. They have reconciled every single trade.

'There is no GBP2 million stashed away,' said Mr Pollard, in Singapore to escort his client home tonight.

Leeson, who has served just two thirds of a 6.5-year sentence for fraud and forgery leading to the collapse of Britain's Barings Bank, is expected to be released early for good behaviour and deported back to England.

On the eve of his scheduled release, prison doctors have declared Leeson, 32, cancer-free.

'At Leeson's last medical check-up on June 23, doctors assessed the cancer to be in a state of complete clinical remission,' Prisons Department spokesman Geraldine Tan said.

Leeson, whose mother died of cancer when he was a child, had a tumor removed in Changi Prison's hospital wing and underwent chemotherapy over Christmas.

At the time, Leeson was given a 70 per cent chance of survival.

His father is also battling the killer disease.

Mr Pollard yesterday declined to comment on reports that Leeson had sold his story to another British newspaper, The Daily Mail, for more than GBP100,000.