Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report


Letter to Mr George Galloway MP from the Chairman of the previous Committee
on Standards and Privileges

  The Committee have considered your letter to them of 14 August and I have been directed by them to ask you further questions.

  The Committee have asked me to thank you for your letter but to express regret that you chose, in most cases, to give general answers rather than to reply directly to each question.

A.  Referring to my letter to you of 7 August, your reply to questions 1 and 2 indicates that you did not provide services which would require registration or declaration and that you never received any remuneration or expenses. You have maintained consistently to us and to the Commissioner that all payments were made by way of reimbursement. In the transcript made by the reporter of The Mail on Sunday of an interview with Mr Al Mass'ari, Mr Al Mass'ari refers to expenditure through you of "£1,000 monthly, something like £1,500" and is also recorded as saying "Galloway was receiving about £1,000 per month". To clarify earlier answers:

    (1)  Were the payments made to you personally or to Hawk?

    (2)  Did Hawk have a bank account? If so can the Committee see the bank statements? Did it have any accounts, or any record of transactions of any kind? If so can the Committee see them?

    (3)  If the payments were to you personally rather than Hawk can the Committee see documentary proof of your expenditure and receipts?

B.  You told the Commissioner that references in the transcript to the part time services of a secretary were a misunderstanding but that you did pay for a bodyguard for Mr Al Mass'ari - who is also referred to in the transcript. Was the bodyguard hired by you directly or did you use an agency? How was the bodyguard (or the Agency) paid? If he was paid by you do you have any records of payment? If employed directly, was he employed by you, Hawk, or Mr Al Mass'ari?

    You also told the Commissioner that you paid for occasional services of academics, as well as airline tickets, advertisements and publicity material. Have you any record, for example, of your payments (and reimbursement) to the senior academics at the School of Oriental and African Studies referred to in your letter to the Commissioner of 28 May? What other payments for work done were made by you? Can you provide documentary evidence of your payments for such work and for the travel and advertising costs you referred to (and for their reimbursement)?

C.  You stated in your letter of 14 August that Hawk never traded and that no payments were made into the company from anyone or anywhere and that the original sum of £5,000 was spent on a visit to Palestine and on a large stock of stationery.

    (1)  How often did you send letters in the name of the company?

    (2)  Were you the only user of its notepaper?

    (3)  Have you used the notepaper for any correspondence not on behalf of the CDLR?

    (4)  On what date did you last act or correspond in the name of, or on behalf of, Hawk?

D.  Referring to your reply to question 5 in my letter to you of 7 August:

    (1)  What did the House of Commons envelopes you used contain?

    (2)  Did you use the free postal facilities provided to Members in connection with any of the services provided to the CDLR, Dr Al-Fagih, or Mr Al Mass'ari or to circulate material which they originated?

    (3)  Were the envelopes used pre-paid or did you pay for the postage?

We shall grateful for your further assistance.

12 November 1996

Reply from Mr George Galloway MP

  Thank you for your letter of 12th November 1996 which I received today. For the record I had been expecting it since my colleague, Jimmy Wray MP, told me on Monday night that a journalist had spoken to him about your Committee's decision to write to me again.

  I am sorry that the Committee thought my 14th August 1996 letter too general. I shall endeavour to be as specific as I can.

  I refer to your paragraph A.

  Firstly the reporter referred to was not from the Mail on Sunday but was a freelance journalist who duped Professor Al Massari into believing he was doing a piece for the Sunday Times. This was false as the Deputy Foreign Editor of the Sunday Times confirmed to me. The reporter subsequently did trail the story along Fleet Street including to the Mail on Sunday but no newspaper was prepared to publish from the "transcript" the reporter ultimately produced.

  In this transcript; and I refer you to the third page, line 12, to the fourth page, line 84, to the fifth page, line 120, to the sixth page, line 149, and from the sixth page, line 157. In all of these references Professor Al Massari clearly states that all the financial affairs of the CDLR were handled by Dr Saad Al-Fagih. You have a letter from Dr Al-Fagih explaining the exact nature of any financial transactions between them and me.

  In your point 1 of paragraph A you ask "Were the payments made to you personally or to Hawk?".

  This question flows from the false premise I have dealt with above. Professor Al Massari never passed to me a brass farthing. Dr Al-Fagih did, on the basis outlined in his letter to you.

  Moreover as I have repeatedly told you, Hawk never traded, it follows that no payments could have been made to it.

  In this regard I refer you to Professor Al Massari's letter to my solicitor which you have, in which he makes it clear, in his own words, inter alia, that his dealings with me "during all that period George Galloway worked with me as an individual not as a representative of any company" and further "neither Mr Galloway or I obtained any financial benefit from each other".[32]

  With reference to your paragraph A no.2.

  Yes, Hawk did have a bank account with the NatWest Bank and of course you may see its bank statements if the bank records still exist for a defunct company for that period. I have written to them today - copy enclosed - asking them to furbish me with copies of all the records and when they arrive I will arrange for one of your staff to pick them up from me. There is the question of costs involved in this and I believe that your Committee should meet them. The company produced no accounts, never traded, was moribund and wound up in the Autumn of 1995.

  With reference to your paragraph B.

  The bodyguards, academics, fly posters, were all employed by the CDLR in the shape of Dr Saad Al-Fagih.


  Occasionally, for example, some of the academics were given their payment by me in the form of cash given to me for the purpose of Dr Al-Fagih.

  It is unlikely that he kept records of this not least because the academics were working secretly, some of them in Institutions in receipt of large sums of largesse provided by the Saudi dictatorship.

  I will endeavour, however, to provide evidence of payments I made for airline tickets and advertisements by writing to The Guardian, the Glasgow Herald, Tribune and The Morning Star asking if they can furbish me with copies of records of payments made by me to them via my credit card or personal cheque book. Again, I must say that I feel your Committee should shoulder any costs involved in this. I have written to my travel agent asking them for any similar documentation which they may have.

  I enclose copies of these letters.

  With reference to your paragraph C no. 1.

  I could not possibly tell you have often I sent letters in the name of the company except to say that it would be a small number.

  With reference to your paragraph C no. 2.

  I was not the only user of its note paper, others involved in the project also had access to its note paper.

  With reference to your paragraph C no. 3.

  I am not aware that I have used the note paper on behalf of the CDLR. I cannot imagine why I would have done so. If you mean has the notepaper been used in relation to any cause other than the CDLR the answer is yes. In late 1994, or early 1995, I wrote to the Westminster Foundation for Democracy asking for support to produce Citrines "ABC of Chairmanship" in Arabic for use in the emerging democracy in Palestine. The offer was declined and there may well be others which I do not now recollect.

  With reference to your paragraph C no. 4.

  I do not know on what date I last acted or corresponded in the name of Hawk. The large stock of stationery earlier referred to remains in my possession the reverse side of which is still used for dictation; indeed my secretary is taking the dictation of this letter on the reverse side of Hawk notepaper.

  What I can say to you is this, that before the company was wound up in the Autumn of 1995 it had ceased looking for projects and there would have been no need for me to act on its behalf.

  With reference to your paragraph D no. 1.

  The House of Commons envelopes to which you refer contained a letter from me on House of Commons notepaper outlining my views about the grave error in Government policy in continuing to arm and support the Saudi dictatorship, in continuing to depend on the ailing Saudi economy and in succumbing to the dictatorship's pressure to harass the Saudi opposition in London. The envelope also contained the research work produced by the academics previously referred to which buttressed that case. This research material was published by the CDLR.

  These envelopes were pre-paid.

  I hope that these answers have been specific enough and I reiterate my offer to meet you at any time if your require further clarification.

  With best wishes.

13 November 1996


Letter to Mr Oscar Beuselinck from Professor Muhammad A S Al Mass'ari


  I am Professor Muhammad A S Al-Mass'ari and I am the Secretary General and Spokesman of the Committee for the Defence of Legitimate Rights (CDLR).

  Since early 1995 I have been working closely with Mr George Galloway MP in a variety of campaigns around the issues of tyranny, injustice and dictatorship in Saudi Arabia generally and my rights to oppose that dictatorship as a refugee in London specifically.

  During all of that period George Galloway worked with me as an individual not as a representative of any company. To the best of my knowledge and belief Mr Galloway's motivation was, solely, his hatred of the dictatorship and his support for reform.

  Neither I nor the CDLR had any financial relationship with Mr Galloway.

  Mr Galloway did not, as alleged in the Sourakis magazine, support us financially, nor act as a channel for foreign funding of our campaign. Neither Mr Galloway no I obtained any financial benefits from each other.

  The Sourakis allegations are defamatory of myself as well as Mr Galloway, implying, as they do, that I was in receipt of illicit foreign funds channelled improperly through a British Member of Parliament. There is no foundation for these allegations.

  I confirm that the "Massari Must Stay" campaign - the campaign against my deportation - was run by Lord Avebury and Mr Galloway from Mr Galloway's office at 7 Millbank. But it was run by them as individuals not on behalf of any company and certainly not for any financial benefit on the part of either gentlemen or myself.

  I hope this will suffice to guide you in any forthcoming litigation.

16 October 1996

See Annex, p.xix. Back

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