Nicholas Leeson: GOING FOR BROKE

THE EGO OF A 28-YEAR-OLD TRADER AND THE GREED OF HIS 232-YEAR-OLD BANK COMBINE TO DESTROY AN INVESTMENT EMPIRE, STUNNING THE BUSINESS WORLD

The week before he disappeared, Nicholas Leeson kept throwing up in the bathroom at work. Colleagues didn't know why. He had been working hard, perhaps harder than usual. For two months, the security guard at his luxury apartment building in Singapore had been complaining about the noise from Leeson's computer printer. It was grinding out copy from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.--the hours Wall Street did business 12 time zones away. During the daytime, the young Englishman appeared distracted, almost dour. In the trading pit of the Singapore International Monetary Exchange, where Leeson worked from dawn to 7 p.m. among the...

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