Whilst still in prison, Leeson wrote an autobiography ‘Rogue Trader’ (1996) that detailed his acts, published by Little Brown and Company, in Boston. It was later made into a film of the same name, released in 1999, starring Ewan McGregor and Anna Friel. In the autobiography, Leeson placed much of the blame for his crimes on Baring bank’s own deficient internal auditing and risk management practices. There were many observers who agreed with this view.
When diagnosed with colon cancer, with dire forecasts, Leeson was released from prison in 1999. He returned to the UK where he underwent chemotherapy, losing both his hair and a great deal of weight. He was a shadow of his former self and his lavish lifestyle had certainly evaporated. He had no home and no work but friends and family supported him during his recovery period.
Always the survivor, Leeson overcame his illness and went on to make money from his bad experiences. He was paid a considerable fee for his book to be serialised in The Mail newspaper. In 2001 he began studying for a Psychology degree at Middlesex University, which he completed.
Describing himself as one of Britain’s most sought-after speakers, Leeson is a regular guest on the after-dinner speaking circuit. He presents talks to companies on Risk Management and does conference speaking, based on his experiences. He says: “With cancer as with other problems, it’s amazing how adaptable human beings are, and you will be able to cope provided you keep a strong frame of mind.”
In April 2005, Leeson was appointed Commercial Manager of Galway United Football Club and was made General Manager in November 2005. Following the success of his autobiography, Leeson co-authored ‘Back from the Brink: Coping with Stress’ with British psychologist Ivan Tyrrell. Published by Virgin Books and released on 23 June 2005, the book picks up the story where the first left off, including in-depth conversations with Tyrrell.
Leeson now lives in Barna, County Galway in the west of Ireland with his second wife, Leona Tormay, an Irish beautician and their three children – Leona’s son and daughter from her first marriage and their own son, born in 2004. Leeson still deals on the stock market but uses his own money.