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Irish default "very much still on the cards", says Nick Leeson

The trader who brought down Baring’s Bank – and who later ran Galway United FC – says stress tests aren’t the end.
Mar 29th 2011, 10:03 PM 2,137 0

THE TRADER WHOSE actions ultimately led to the collapse of Baring’s Bank reckons the stress tests on Ireland’s banking sector due later this week will not draw a line under the extent of Ireland’s financial problems.

What’s more, Nick Leeson believes a default on Ireland’s obligations is still “very much on the cards”, and fears for Ireland’s ability to manoeuvre its way out of its current crisis.

“Absolutely no chance that this week’s stress tests in Ireland signal the extent of the bailout,” Leeson said on Twitter, adding:

Nothing recently suggests an understanding of the problem and a skill-set to overcome [it].

Leeson moved to Ireland after marrying an Irish woman in 2003, and moved to Barna in Co Galway, from where Leeson became involved in the management of Airtricity League outfit Galway United.

Having originally become its commercial manager, Leeson became General Manager and ultimately chief executive at the club, only stepping down last month when the club’s financial state meant it couldn’t afford paid administration any more.

Leeson remains a popular after-dinner speaker and now makes a living advising companies about business risk.

Leeson ran up a total of £827m in losses in Barings by making unauthorised speculative trades on Asian stock markets – losses which ultimately caused Barings to become insolvent and collapse.

He was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison, but was released after three years when he was diagnosed with colon cancer.

The trader’s book about his time in Barings, Rogue Trader, was adapted into a 1999 movie starring Ewan McGregor.

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Gavan Reilly

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