Examination of witness (Question 240-255)|
TUESDAY 1 MAY 2001
240. Can I conclude with three very simple points
which I think are in front of us.
(Mr Robinson) Can we have a moment? (Mr Robinson conferred
with his solicitor) To me, it is a subsidiary issue, but it has
been brought to my attention by my lawyer and with your permission
I will read it out. I do not know the significance of it but what
Bernard has put to me is the proposition is that you must declare
that TransTec expected receipt. Do you have to declare an interest
in each company that Transfer Technology trades with? "Taken
to a logical conclusion, Geoffrey has to declare every person
or company that Transfer Technology does business with."
It is a good debating point. Nor is disclosure, to my way of thinking,
the central issue. I am charged with something much more grave
241. Can I put what I think the complaints are
that we need to determine? Was the Chairman and were the Committee
misled by the answer to the question put to you in June 1998 which
was, "Did you expect to receive any benefit of any kind in
respect of your chairmanship of the company?"?
(Mr Robinson) No.
242. Is that because you define it very narrowly
and specifically as chairman or?
(Mr Robinson) That was the issue because that was
what was in the accounts. That was what I was charged with at
the time. How else could I define it?
243. If you had known in 1998 that you had raised
an invoice for £200,000, would you have added that to your
(Mr Robinson) Everything that subsequently became
available by way of documentation I would have made available.
None of it, to my way of thinking, says that I reaped any benefit
from being a non-executive chairman of Hollis.
244. Can I put to you that you are deliberately
not answering the question I put to you? Would you have thought
it proper, not necessarily a portmanteau, "I will give you
everything", but specifically in answer to the question,
"Did you expect to receive any benefit of any kind in respect
of your chairmanship of the company?" you said, "No."
If you had remembered the invoice you had raised for management
services to Hollis Industries, would you have brought that to
the attention of the Chairman of the Committee in 1998?
(Mr Robinson) If I had known it, I would have.
245. But you had forgotten it?
(Mr Robinson) Yes.
246. Would not the benefit you would have been
expecting have been from the merger?
(Mr Robinson) Yes.
247. Did you not think about the benefits that
might arise from the merger?
(Mr Robinson) No.
248. Why not?
(Mr Robinson) My directorship with TransTec was registered
anyway and in Central & Sheerwood. I paid tax on everything
I had done in Central & Sheerwood.
249. That is a separate issue. You have already
confirmed the benefit from the merger was bigger than the £200,000
which you say may not have been paid.
(Mr Robinson) Which was not paid.
250. Forgive me: there was evidence that it
was paid. The question is where it was paid to.
(Mr Robinson) It is quite incorrect, the reference
the Commissioner makes to Kevin Maxwell's statement. To that must
be added what comes afterwards. He says that whilst it was paid,
what we cannot say because we do not know is where it was paid
251. We had evidence of where it was paid. We
cannot be sure that where it was paid to was where it ended up.
(Mr Robinson) We do not know the person. It went into
252. Can you tell us whether you believe Kevin
Maxwell would know where that money was paid to and why you think
he will not say?
(Mr Robinson) I think about that all the time. I am
sure one person knows and he is sadly in the Mount of Olives.
I do not know whether Kevin knows or not. I suppose in so far
as my supposition is and is bound to be that the money was paid
to another beneficiary that was important and related to Maxwell,
one of his companies or whatever, I cannot think where else it
would have gone. It becomes incriminating at his end. Even if
he knew, he would not probably tell us. I do not think Michael
Stoney knows but I do not think it is for me to speculate whether
Kevin does or not.
253. One issue in front of us is whether we
should properly conclude that you failed to provide the previous
Commissioner and this Committee with full and accurate responses
to questions. That failure, if it exists, would include a failure
of memory over an exchange of correspondence over a period of
months and an invoice which was raised after a discussion with
Kevin Maxwell. Shall we take it from you that the reason you did
not declare that in 1998 is that you had forgotten?
(Mr Robinson) Yes.
254. It was not because you thought it was not
relevant but because you had forgotten it?
(Mr Robinson) I had forgotten completely about it.
I described how it came back to me when I was in the office with
Jeremy and how I phoned Sami Ahmed in front of them both. He had
forgotten and I had totally forgotten about it.
255. Thanks for coming along and answering our
questions in a fairly extended session today.
(Mr Robinson) I do not imagine you can tell me what
is going to happen but as soon as I can get the written agreement
of Arthur Andersen the search will start and that will start irrespective
of whether the Committee feels that the evidence is insufficient
or not conclusive enough to uphold the complaints and agree with
the Commissioner. That is going to go ahead anyway because even
if you wereand I would be hopeful that you would not, because
I cannot tell you any more than the truth, which I have told you
absolutelyI am not going to lie to my colleagues. Irrespective
of what conclusion you reach, supposing you were to say that the
high level of proof required on the critical issue of where is
the cheque is not sufficient, everybody is going to say that without
the cheque there is a big question mark over my integrity. I do
not know what my chances of finding the cheque are but I am absolutely
determined to exhaust the boxes at Arthur Andersen and, if it
is to be found, find it. That would, I hope, start straight away.
Chairman: Thank you.