Barings Trader Leeson Was Denied License In Britain

SINGAPORE - Barings Bank sent trader Nick Leeson to Singapore because he couldn't get a license in Britain, and by withholding that information the bank could face a fine in Singapore, officials said today.

Leeson, whose disastrous future trades contributed to Barings' collapse, was refused a traders license in his native Britain in 1992 for lying about an unpaid debt, the industry group that issues the licenses said.

Although Barings knew this, it transferred Leeson that year to Singapore, where he did not need a British license to trade at the Singapore International Monetary Exchange (SIMEX), the group said.

The information ought to have been disclosed to SIMEX because it would have been essential in assessing his application to become a trader in Singapore, the exchange said.

In a television interview broadcast Monday in Britain, the head of the Securities and Futures Authority said Leeson lied on his license application by not disclosing an unpaid debt of $1,040 to electronics company Hitachi and a court order to pay it.