Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of witness (Question 60-79)



Mr Bottomley

  60. Can we look at Annex O, please? It is on page 26 in the bundle. Can you see the numbers £200,000?
  (Mr Robinson) Yes.

  61. Will you please read the words to the left of them?
  (Mr Robinson) "Fee for Management Service provided to Hollis Industries plc as agreed".

  62. Were these management services provided to Hollis, or to Lock, or to both, or to neither?
  (Mr Robinson) Well, as of the date—The date of that is 24th October. We do not know when he approved it. What we do know is that there is an entry in the books saying that the money was paid in October. We all know it is incorrect.

  63. Can I stop you for a moment?
  (Mr Robinson) No, I will come back to your direct question, I promise you.

  64. Can I ask you to answer the question first?
  (Mr Robinson) Very good. ".... provided to Hollis Industries plc as agreed". I would say to that, the payment was made in line with the contract; that whatever payment is in there—this is my invoice, of course—has got to be seen with reference to everything that was drawn up and agreed as a management agreement, and it is clearly not to Hollis. I mean, it is to Hollis overall, but nothing I have done has been for Hollis as a company. I do not seem to be able to get this one through to you, and I am so sorry that I cannot. I mean, what I did was for Lock. I never did anything in my capacity as—If you look at one of the documents the Commissioner left out, which I think is tab 8 in ours, you will see the whole thing is set out there, and there it says "TransTec and AML" which is Lock.

  65. Can I ask you again the question? Those words you read out, to the left of £200,000, in an invoice that you raised dated 24th October 1990, are "Fee for Management Service provided to Hollis Industries plc as agreed"?
  (Mr Robinson) Yes.

  66. The question was, are those for services which were provided to Hollis, or to Lock, or to both, or were they not?
  (Mr Robinson) No, to Lock only.

  67. Or were they not provided?
  (Mr Robinson) No, to Lock only.

  68. And Lock is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hollis?
  (Mr Robinson) Yes.

  69. And Hollis you are a director of?
  (Mr Robinson) Yes.

  70. You are not sure whether or not you were ever a director of Lock?
  (Mr Robinson) I think I said I was never a director of Lock.

  71. I think you said you were not sure whether you were.
  (Mr Robinson) Well, I have to take advice.

  72. If you were not a director of Lock, and there was provision of services on behalf of the company Transfer Technology Limited—which, in effect, is your company?
  (Mr Robinson) Yes.

  73. This is for services provided to, in effect, an active part of Hollis?
  (Mr Robinson) To what?

  74. To a company that is an active company in Hollis.
  (Mr Robinson) There were only two, I think, yes.

  75. A major part of Hollis?
  (Mr Robinson) There were two companies.

  76. Can you explain how you believe this is not remuneration from a company owned by a company of which you are a director?
  (Mr Robinson) I believe no payment was made, first of all.

  77. I am sorry, forgive me. This is an invoice. I do not want to go beyond 24th October for the moment.
  (Mr Robinson) But you have to prove this invoice was paid, and if you look at the management accounts of PAGB or Hollis, provided by PAGB, they will tell you it was paid in October, but we all know it was not paid in October.

  78. I am not at the moment after enquiring as to whether it was paid or not. I am talking about this invoice that you accept you raised for the provision of services by your company to the active part of the company of which you were a director.
  (Mr Robinson) If it had been paid, you mean?

  79. No, no. You say—
  (Mr Robinson) No, no always. I am sorry, we are not going to agree on this, but it was always absolutely clear from my point of view that in my capacity, which was a totally nominal one as non-executive chairman of Hollis, I never did any work in that capacity, I never did any services in that capacity, I never discussed any contract in that capacity. In that capacity there was no question of my ever being paid. There is not one piece of paper anywhere that suggests that I was going to be paid for that particular role, and that here it is used in the generic term, because—I do not know why. You are asking me. It is obviously done in a hurry, obviously done without even considering the VAT implications, obviously done to push the thing along. What I ask you to produce, Mr Bottomley, is any single scrap of evidence anywhere in the whole of this documentation that suggests that I was being paid anything for being non-executive director of Hollis, which I, of course was not, and which I assured Sir Gordon I did not. When I discovered I remembered all this, it still had no bearing on my role as non-executive chairman of Hollis, none whatsoever. There is not a shred of reference to my role as that anywhere, let alone to my being due a payment for it, none at all. Where do you find it? It was all for the work we did as TransTec to get Lock up and going, in anticipation of the merger, and that is what happened.

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