Banker arrested in Germany

The Associated Press

FRANKFURT, Germany The British trader whose financial risk-taking ruined Britain's oldest investment bank was several steps ahead of a Singapore arrest warrant and almost home when police caught up with him Thursday.

Nick Leeson was escorted off a flight from Malaysia and detained by German police while authorities awaited an extradition request and arrest warrant accusing him of mishandling money and other charges.

Leeson repeatedly told police he wanted to return to Britain, where his employer, Baring Brothers & Co., was trying to figure out how one man could lose an estimated $1 billion and bring down the 232-year-old bank in a matter of weeks.

In its first comment on the case, Singapore's fraud squad said Thursday it was investigating a complaint by Baring Futures that the 28-year-old Leeson ''committed offenses of forgery.''

It said the Baring complaint was made to police Monday, four days after Leeson and his wife, Lisa Simms, had fled their luxury condominium in Singapore, leaving newspapers at the door and laundry drying on the balcony.

The couple drove across the border into Malaysia, where they spent the night, then went on to a ritzy resort in Kota Kinabula, about 900 miles away on the island of Borneo.

Records at the Shangri La Hotel there showed a reservation in the name of Leeson's wife, Lisa Jane. The bill for room 428, where they stayed, totaled the equivalent of $787.11.

SEATTLE A gunman killed his pregnant mail-order bride and one of her friends, and critically wounded another woman as they waited to testify against him Thursday in a marriage annulment hearing, police said.

Timothy C. Blackwell met and married his wife, Susana Remerata Blackwell, in the Philippines two years ago. They separated two weeks after she came to the United States.

Blackwell, 47, claimed his 25-year-old wife duped him into the marriage, in part so she could live in America, court records show. She contended he beat her, forcing her to move out in fear.

He filed for annulment; she filed for divorce, seeking $350 a month in alimony for six months.

On Thursday, shortly before a scheduled annulment hearing, Blackwell opened fire with a semiautomatic handgun at the three women sitting on a bench on the second floor of the King County Courthouse, police said.

Killed were Mrs. Blackwell, her seven-month-old fetus, and Phoebe Dizon, 46, the medical examiner's office said.

A third woman, Veronica Laurenda, also a friend of Mrs. Blackwell, was hospitalized in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds.

The gunman ''was standing in front of the people and he fired probably five or six shots,'' said Lois Edwards, an attorney in an unrelated case. ''We just turned and ran.''

The gunman was subdued by three prison guards who heard the shots from a nearby courtroom. Blackwell was arrested and booked for investigation of homicide, said county prosecutor's spokesman Dan Donohoe.

MEXICO CITY A former prosecutor who claimed a cover-up in his brother's slaying found the tables turned Thursday when investigators grilled him about allegedly shielding an ex-president's brother in the case.

The questioning of former Deputy Attorney General Mario Ruiz Massieu was the latest twist in the Sept. 28 murder of Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party's secretary-general.

''The communication and interchange of impressions was fruitful,'' Ruiz Massieu said Thursday evening after the mid

seven-hour questioning. ''All of this will be cleared up perfectly.''

''There was no element to prove that I had committed any of the crimes that they have accused me of,'' he said as he left the Attorney General's office.

The government shocked Mexicans on Tuesday by announcing that the brother of former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Raul Salinas, was arrested as the mastermind of the murder.

The arrest was a historic blow to a Mexican tradition of ignoring crimes by former leaders and their close relatives.

''Let it be clear: Nobody can be outside the law,'' President Ernesto Zedillo, Carlos Salinas' hand-picked successor, said in a speech Thursday in Tlaxcala. ''In Mexico, impunity has ended.''

Carlos Salinas turned over the presidency to Zedillo on Dec. 1.

CHICAGO Wallace ''Gator'' Bradley, a convicted criminal who makes no bones about his gang past, promised disenchanted young voters a piece of the action and they helped him get into a runoff for City Council.

Now some older residents in the downtrodden 3rd Ward on the South Side wonder if Bradley is really aiming to line the pockets of the Gangster Disciple gang he once served as an enforcer.

Bradley and gang leaders are ''planning to sew up the city ward by ward,'' 68-year-old Lorrie Jackson said as she stood on a street corner. ''It can't be for no good. His background is just too bad. I know everybody deserves a second chance, but not when it comes to gangs.

''Those are nothing but young people voting for him, and they're hoodlums, criminals, folks who live in the projects.''

Bradley, who served prison time in the 1970s for an armed robbery conviction, took 31 percent of the vote in Tuesday's four-way primary. That wasn't enough to win, but it did force incumbent Dorothy Tillman into an April 4 runoff. Tillman took nearly 48 percent of the vote but needed 50 percent to win outright.

''We showed them we aren't just a bunch of gangbangers around here,'' Bradley said.

Critics say the gangs want to gain control over federal, state and city development money coming into the area.

Bradley's supporters contend he speaks for disenfranchised youth who want to see change occur quickly in the neighborhood of housing projects, abandoned homes and weed-filled lots.

Tillman, a civil rights activist known for wearing flashy hats, has become too entrenched, some younger people say.

Bradley says she ''sold out'' to Mayor Richard M. Daley and has become less vocal about the area's needs.

''She's not doing nothing for this community,'' said Luticia Edmondson, 26. ''By him being a former gang member, he listens and knows what we need.''

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