Star stockbroker Koon Yee-poon may not have appeared to have much in common with Nick Leeson, the high-flying dealer blamed for the downfall of Barings Bank. While Leeson lived life in the fast lane, swigging champagne in Singapore's trendy bars, Koon was more likely to return home after work and read a magazine. He was described by his barrister, Graeme Mackay, as a quiet, introverted and lonely man who did not mix much with his colleagues. But, like Leeson, Koon was a high-performing trader playing a 'deadly game' with other people's money, the court heard. Mr Mackay said the similarities between the two cases did not end there. He claimed a lack of supervision by Koon's company, Okachi Investments (HK) Ltd, had enabled him to pull off the theft of shares worth more than $21 million. Koon was said to have earned about $100 million in commission for the company since joining it in 1987. 'He certainly was a key employee and a very successful trader. The company gave him free rein to expand Okachi's empire. 'That, of course, rather like the Barings case, lacks supervision, one cannot say connivance, but certainly a lack of supervision which enabled him to carry out these thefts,' Mr Mackay said. Both Koon and Leeson ran into trouble when their trading began to result in huge losses. 'He was very unlucky because the market started to go heavily against him, first of all red chips and then an ever-descending spiral,' Mr Mackay said. Like Leeson, Koon disappeared when the net began to close in on him. He went to the mainland and was missing when his crimes were discovered. But both finally accepted the inevitability of being caught and Koon surrendered himself in Hong Kong. His crimes could not be said to have consequences anywhere near as disastrous as those of Leeson, whose offences were linked to the collapse of Barings Bank with debts of US$1.4 billion (HK$10.8 billion). But there was a similarity between their sentences. Koon was given six years' jail yesterday while Leeson was given 6.5 years in Singapore in December 1995 after the Barings crash.