Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Seventh Report

The New Allegations contained in Mr Bower's book, The Paymaster

17.  Mr Bower, in his book, has produced new information which, he claims, shows that Mr Robinson did receive the £200,000 payment in respect of Hollis Industries. Of three main documents cited by Mr Bower as not having been available to the Committee for its previous inquiry, the first was mentioned by Mr Heathcoat-Amory in his letter of complaint, namely:

    —   an invoice sent by Mr Robinson from his home address in October 1990 demanding payment of £200,000 for "management service [sic] provided to Hollis Industries plc as agreed" and marked "paid", with a separate note purporting to record a request from Mr Robinson that the cheque should be made payable to him personally.

18.  The two other documents relied on by Mr Bower were:

—   an item in the computerised cashbook of Pergamon AGB referring to a payment by cheque (No. 001751) in the sum of £200,000, entered under the name "Orchards" (the name of Mr Robinson's home in Surrey)

—   an internal Pergamon AGB memorandum, dated 26 November 1990, from Mr Stoney to Mr Kevin Maxwell enclosing a copy of Mr Robinson's invoice and implying that the payment of £200,000 had been agreed by Mr Kevin Maxwell.[18]

19.  In support of his contention that Mr Robinson had knowingly misled the Committee in 1998, Mr Bower quoted in his book from a conversation he says he had with Mr Robinson at the Grosvenor House (Mr Robinson's London address) on 7 December 2000. During this meeting, according to Mr Bower, Mr Robinson admitted having received the £200,000 payment and appeared to make play of the fact that no one knew into which account the money had gone.

20.  In letters to me dated 26 March 2001 (Annex C) and 5 April 2001 (Annex D), Mr Bower confirmed that the relevant passage in his book accurately reflected his recollection of the conversation with Mr Robinson and that Mr Robinson's admission had been made in response to a direct and specific question from him [Mr Bower].

21.  Asked by me to explain the statement in his first letter that Mr Robinson had told the Committee in 1998 that he had "neither solicited"[19] nor received £200,000 for his chairmanship of Hollis", Mr Bower replied in his letter of 5 April, as follows:

"... I inferred that he [Mr Robinson] had told the Committee that he had not solicited the payment by his statement that his directorship of Pergamon was unpaid. Since he stated that he was an unremunerated director, he explicitly implies that he did not solicit payment."

Mr Bower added:

"Furthermore in... question (ii) listed in Appendix 5 [of the Committee's 18th Report of Session 1997-98],[20] Mr Robinson is asked whether he expected any benefit [in respect of his chairmanship of Hollis]. He replied in Appendix 6[21] 'No', which explicitly excludes the presentation of an invoice for £200,000."

Finally, Mr Bower pointed to a letter written by Mr Robinson to the Committee in July 1998[22] in which Mr Robinson said:

"This remuneration was not agreed by me."

In Mr Bower's view this statement "suggests that he did not ask for the money."

18  All three of these documents are dealt with in more detail, and in their full context, in the section entitled The Documentation relating to the alleged payment of £200,000 to Mr Robinson (see paragraphs 32 to 35). Back

19  Emphasis added. Back

20  See paragraph 15. Back

21  See paragraph 16. Back

22  Appendix 8 of the Committee's previous Report. Back

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