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Rogue trader Leeson gets online gambling bug

09 January 2006  |  16165 views  |  0 Nick Leeson, rogue trader

Nick Leeson, the rogue trader who destroyed Barings Bank by racking up $1.3bn in derivatives trading losses, has resurfaced as a professional Internet poker player on the Celebpoker.com gambling site.

According to Celebpoker.com, online poker has become Leeson's main source of income. Last week alone he won $25,000 in a no-limits cash game on the site.

Leeson, who was introduced to online poker by former footballer Vinnie Jones, says what started out as a hobby has now become a lucrative side-line.

But despite the $25,000 win, Leeson claims to have learned from his mistakes and says he generally doesn't gamble big money on the site.

"The returns on the money can be phenomenal but I am well aware that I can lose too, so I won't be repeating the mistakes I made in the past," he says.

In 1995 Leeson was gaoled for six-and-a-half years for his part in the collapse of the UK's oldest merchant bank, Barings. Whilst working as an investment operations officer for Barings in Singapore, Leeson racked up losses of $1.3bn by making massive bets on interest rate movements. When the accounting fraud was discovered by Barings executives Leeson went on the run.

Barings eventually crashed and was bought for just £1 by Dutch banking group ING.

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