Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report

Annex 59

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Mr Sarosh Zaiwalla

  Thank you for your letter of 3 March 2000. My reply is as follows:

  I have recollection of Mr Vaz mentioning Ravi Shankar's daughter's event to me. However, if this event was held in July 1997, then even though I may have been invited to sponsor some of the organisational expenses for the event, I had definitely not sponsored it. I somehow have an impression in my mind (quite possibly wrongly) that the second dinner which I did not attend was connected with Ravi Shankar's daughter. Maybe she simply was going to attend it and Keith had mentioned this to me. I cannot remember for sure. In any case, I believe this to be irrelevant.

  As I said before I had personally attended only one of the two events which my firm and I had supported which was the Jack Straw dinner. I recall receiving an invitation for another dinner from the organisers at Asian Business Network to attend along with my guests and two of my friends, Mr & Mrs Gupta, had attended as my guests. I have in my letter of 14 February 2000 already provided you with evidence of the two payments in 1998 of £500 each in respect of both these events.

  These were the only two events organised and/or supported by Mr Vaz which my firm and I supported at a total cost of £1,000.

  My answer to your second query is that two representatives called in person on behalf of the appeal organisers. I cannot say (because of the passage of time) with any degree of certainty whether it was I or Mr Brown who actually handed over the cash to the individuals concerned.

  I would like to take this opportunity to enclose copies of my letters to Ms Philippa Evans of the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors and the Director of the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors. I would bring to your attention that Mr Milne's allegations, knowledge of which on his own admission he purports to have gathered during the course of his employment with this firm, places him in breach of his legal duty of confidentiality, which breach may be relevant for the purpose of your investigation. A solicitor who knowingly breaches his legal duty of confidentiality commits a grave act of professional misconduct.

  Finally, I enclose a copy (not printed) of a letter of appreciation which I have received today from one of the guests who attended the last Asian Business Breakfast Club event of which I thought you might like to see.

  I would be pleased to assist you any further.

7 March 2000

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