Transcript of conversation between Mr
Andrew Milne and Mr Brian Brown, 7 pm on 14 January 2000
Andrew Milne: Brown, its Andrew Milne
Brian Brown: Hi
AM: I have been contacted by the Sunday
Telegraph and I am really rather concerned at what you may
or may not have been saying to them. They say they are going to
run some story and I am very anxious to find out what you have
said to them about Mr Vaz.
BB: I haven't said anything.
AM: Were you discreet?
BB: I haven't said anything. What they asked
me about I didn't know. Simple as that. I haven't heard from them
for four weeks.
AM: I was contacted by them quite recently
and I was really rather concerned. I didn't want my name to get
into the paper about this sort of thing. It concerns the £2,000
that you handed over to his assistant.
BB: Well, supposed to have. It's not something
that I remember. That's what I told them.
AM: That you had chosen not to remember.
BB: Not that I had chosen not to remember.
That I didn't remember.
AM: You certainly did hand over an envelope
at some stage.
BB: Or so I am told, but I still don't remember
AM: I am quite anxious to get our story
straight on this because I have been telephoned a number of times.
BB: I am interested to know where you got
the number from.
AM: I asked them how you might be contacted
after they mentioned your name two or three times. They eventually
gave me the number. What do you do now?
BB: That's irrelevant.
AM: I am anxious to get our story straight.
BB: I have no story. They got nothing from
me, nothing from my family and that's the end of it. I have heard
nothing from them for four weeks.
AM: You were discreet in what you said to
BB: I told them I couldn't remember. Which
is exactly it.
AM: I have a vivid recollection that you
did hand over an envelope with £2,000 in it to Mr Vaz's office.
BB: Well that wasn't asked of me. I was
asked about a bloke called Baldry. Vaz never came up into the
conversation at all.
AM: You were asked if you had given Baldry
moneywhich you hadn't done.
BB: That's right. Because it was 1987, er
AM: Oh I see. That's comforting. I was asked
about Mr Vaz though which I did find concerning because I do remember
you did give himor someone from his officean envelope.
BB: Oh yes. I remember that quite vividly,
he was up there quite a lot.
AM: They asked me various other names which
I found concerning. Do you remember the name of Vaz's assistant
who actually handed the cash to?
BB: No because it was to him personally.
AM: You handed the £2,000 to Mr Vaz
BB: Well, however much it was, it was to
him personally. I don't remember any assistants.
AM: Did Keith say thank you.
BB: I couldn't tell you.
AM: Can't remember that.
AM: Well, I was very anxious to get the
whole story straight and I was very anxious to find out . . .
BB: I told them I couldn't help. They asked
me about Mr Baldry. I told them I had met him a couple of times.
AM: Was there more than one occasion that
you gave cash to Mr Vaz?
BB: I can't remember. There may have been
more than one.
AM: But you remember giving him cash on
more than one occasion.
BB: Oh, on one occasion, yes.
AM: The Baldry payment was £5,000,
but I was having all sorts of things put to me. My recollection
with Mr Vaz was that the envelope had £2,000 in cash in it.
BB: It may well have done, and I am sure
there was more than one, but er . . .
AM: If you are asked about Mr Vaz in the
future what are you going to say?
BB: I am not getting involved. I told them
that I do not want to talk to them. They came here to the house.
AM: They actually came and visited you.
AM: I have not had that yet and I am actually
rather concerned that that might happen.
BB: Well I wasn't here anyway. I wasn't
in when they came down to the house. They have been down to Southend
as well. I just told them I didn't want to get involved and that
was before Christmas.
AM: My recollection of when you gave Mr
Vaz the cash on one occasion was in 1994.
BB: Well it would have been (unclear) .
AM: I think Vaz is quite a corrupt character
and one imagines they might round up a number of people to say
he was in the habit of receiving cash from them.
BB: Maybe, maybe, but they wont get anything
from me, I can assure you.
AM: That's quite comforting. As I said they
have called a number of times and I was concerned they might start
visiting or visiting at my place of work which would also be concerning.
BB: They don't seem to have any qualms about
calling when and wherever they feel like it. They have actually
driven up here on the chance I was going to be in. Seems absolutely
bizarre to me after telling them two or three times that I didn't
know anything and I didn't want to talk to them.
AM: Did you see the article on Baldry.
AM: They did a whole page on him and he
has had quite a telling off from various different people it seems.
I certainly don't want my name to appear under any circumstances
in any article about Vaz.
BB: I am just not talking to them. If they
turn up here I still won't talk to them. Nothing will come from
AM: Was there more than one occasion that
you gave Mr Vaz cash.
BB: I can't remember.
AM: But you definitely recollect one occasion.
BB: I wouldn't be surprised if there were
more than one occasion. You know what they were like down there.
AM: I do. I can remember on one occasion
he insisted on cash, which I found very amusing at the time.
BB: I think he always did.
AM: Was there ever an occasion where he
took a cheque?
BB: Not to my recollection.
AM: Always cash, so it could not be traced.
It's a bizarre, bizarre thing. I certainly don't want my name
to get mixed up with Mr Vaz collecting cash from . . .
BB: Do what I did and tell them you are
not going to talk to them.
AM: The problem is that they call where
I work and I have had quite a number of calls now and I did not
know what you had told them. Having had a direct hit on Mr Baldry
there's a possibility they are digging around on Mr Vaz now.
BB: That's a possibility, it wouldn't surprise
me. As it happens, they didn't ask me about Mr Vaz so there's
nothing for me to tell them and they mentioned Baldry. Apart from
the fact that I had met him a couple of times at Christmas functions,
that was the extent of my meeting him. They said 1997. Well, I
wasn't there in 1997.
AM: Because you met Vaz on many occasions
when he came to the office.
AM: Were you ever present when he asked
BB: No. Those discussions were private.
AM: So your only recollection is of actually
handing it over.
BB: Just going, collecting it, taking it
up, getting it done.
AM: Drawing it out of the bank specially
because it would be over the petty cash limit of what we would
physically have in the office.
BB: That's right.
AM: So you would need to go cash a cheque.
AM: If they start getting hold of office
records would you have entered in the cash book that it was for
BB: Oh no, it would have gone down as drawings.
AM: It would have said drawings.
AM: Well that's something anyway, it would
not have been traceable from that point of view.
AM: Can you think of anyway that the cash
Mr Vaz took would be traceable.
BB: No. It just went down to drawings.
AM: The cash you remember giving to Mr Vaz,
was anybody else present who they might go and dig up. Any other
BB: I doubt it.
AM: Only Mr Zaiwalla.
AM: Unless he goes completely mad won't
tell them about it. The Baldry article in the end was utterly
hilarious because from the way it was written, most of the info
in the end was provided by Mr Zaiwalla.
BB: I know.
AM: It was quite unbelievable, because they
rang him up and said we have been doing this whatever, and he
doesn't say I am not going to talk to you. They get this verbal
diarrhoea that fills half a page and then he rings them back.
A full page article appeared and it says "and then he contacted
us again and changed his story". He gives three totally different
accounts of events all of which are published as great length.
BB: All inviting bad publicity by the sounds
AM: The firm now consists of two other solicitors
other than Mr Zaiwalla so its grown and shrunk. Unfortunately
the taxman has paid a visit and he seems to be clutching a bill
for in excess of £2 million connected with the affairs of
BB: Ha ha ha.
AM: Can you imagine it.
BB: Poor man.
AM: Can you imagine. All the other partners
in Delta have gone back to India or disappeared and he just can't
work out what to do.
BB: My understanding is that he tried telling
them he knew nothing about Delta shipping so they got a court
order and went down to Den Norske Bank and seized all Den Norske's
AM: Why are they after him you suppose.
AM: The Inland Revenue.
BB: No, the papers.
AM: Oh, because the Baldry story was a big
story and seemed to work out very well and there is a perception
that he is a corrupt man who has made payments to other people.
I was asked about other MPs bit I just had no recollection that
they were getting cash, I mean they may have done . . . (Can't
hear for two seconds) . . . but I was just very concerned about
Mr Vaz. They were asking me about payments to him and him being
in the habit of taking cash as to what you had told them and they
started mentioning your name.
BB: Rest assured that his name never came
up as far as I was concerned and if it did, I am not going to
give any stories about him. If they can get it from somebody else,
let them, they wont get anything from me. I have told them enough
times that I don't want to talk to them. They seem to have got
AM: Regarding the cash you gave to Mr Vaz,
you would simply say that you couldn't remember if they were to
BB: Yes I would.
AM: Can you think of anyone else they might
dig up who witnessed the money being handed over.
BB: I doubt it.
AM: The Baldry story was quite a success.
Mr Zaiwalla is a solicitor who is perceived to be on the fringes
of politics and had contact with a few politicians and given them
money. Needless to say Mr Baldry forgot to put his money in the
register and there turned out to be quite a list of things that
Mr Baldry had not put in the register. Mr Vaz has not put in any
payments in the register let alone cash payments. So he would
be a target as well. Baldry is just lucky he is not in government
anymore. The headline said "Latest Tory sleaze scandal"
and a picture of Mr Zaiwalla reading a law book.
BB: Which he probably has framed somewhere.
AM: "Latest Tory sleaze", and
he has framed it. I believe he first wrote to them saying he would
sue them, and five minutes later invited them round. Come and
have a coffee in my office.
BB: So, it sounds as if he hasn't changed
over the years.
AM: No certainly hasn't changed, hasn't
changed at all. I am concerned at what they might say about Keith
Vaz and things they might ask me about. Other than the cash you
gave him, can you think of anything else that might be embarrassing
that one might be asked about.
BB: There was that one occasion, but as
I said there probably were more that I do remember .. . . (can't
AM: Can you remember what he wanted the
BB: Oh yes. He was starting some fund or
something, wasn't he, to help run his office.
AM: On the occasion of the £2,000 which
is the only occasion that I specifically remember, Mr Zaiwalla
told me that Vaz said his bank manager was after him because he
has an overdraft, but I suppose that might equate with running
his personal office.
AM: You don't think he might have paid it
in somewhere and that might come to light or something like that.
BB: I wouldn't know.
AM: And it was fifties you would have given
him wouldn't it.
BB: I have no idea.
AM: What did Mr Zaiwalla get in return from
BB: I have no idea. It's not something I
thought about then or now.
AM: He was very keen to get a CBE or something.
He did get it slightly off the ground, but I believe the honours
scrutiny committee turned him down.
BB: I am not surprised.
AM: I think if you are born overseas then
the high commission of the land of your birth are also consulted
and apparently when the Indian High Commission were asked if Mr
Zaiwalla should be honoured they were less than enthusiastic.
AM: I feel much better that there's not
going to be some sort of part two of this. If you are asked about
Mr Vaz and the cash what are you going to say.
BB: I shant say anything. I should tell
them what I have told them on numerous occasions that I don't
want to talk to them and the same applies now.
AM: On the specific occasion you do remember
giving Mr Vaz cash, are you sure there are no entries in the firms
books that could be suddenly produced.
BB: I would be very surprised. The only
way that could have been done is against an invoice or if he had
done it as a loan or something like that. But he didn't. Most
of the payments that came out, came out of his drawings.
AM: So Vaz did not receive the money as
a loan, it was an outright payment.
BB: No, it wasn't a loan at all.
AM: It was an outright cash in hand, as
BB: Yes, yes.
AM: In the records, if someone got hold
of that it would just say SZ drawings £2,000 cash.
AM: The occasion, you remember that was
at the old offices wasn't it.
BB: Yes, Chancery Lane, 95A.
AM: So that would be prior to April 1994
when we moved.
AM: My recollection was that it was just
before the move regarding the £2,000 payment.
BB: May have been. I couldn't be specific
about the time.
AM: Alright thank you very much. I feel
much better now and I hope this will be the end of it. I am just
worried about what the papers might dig up. They have a habit
of turning up quite unexpectedly.
BB: I don't want to talk to them.
AM: If they ask Mr Zaiwalla about it do
you think he might get verbal diarrhoea and tell them about it.
BB: Yes, Don't worry about it. I am not
interested full stop.
AM: Well thank you very much. Knowing you
haven't said anything about it I will take a similarly robust
view if pressed again.
BB: Bye bye.
AM: Bye bye.