Attendance note agreed by Mr Stoney and
Mr Robinson and his legal advisers
following a meeting with them on 6 April
Titmuss Sainer Dechert
|Date:||6 April 1999
Work Involved: Bernard O'Sullivan meeting with
Geoffrey Robinson and Michael Stoney at GR's flat at the Grosvenor
BOS arrived at 4:50 pm, Michael Stoney arrived at
BOS took Michael Stoney through the following material:
1. The correspondence surrounding the proposed
management charge by TransTec for Lock;
2. Various copies of the 24 October 1990 invoice;
3. The letter from Kevin Maxwell dated 22 February
4. The PAGB cashbook for the NatWest account
for December 1990;
5. The NatWest statement sheet no. 348 for the
6. The Hollis manuscript accounting notes surrounding
the accruals and invoices;
7. Various Hollis ledges showing support for
Hollis from Pergamon Holdings in the sum of £1.3 million
The following is a summary of the points made by
1. The handwriting on the bottom left hand
side of the copy invoice is that of Shirley Caddock, Michael Stoney's
secretary at the time.
2. Michael Stoney obviously approved the
invoice on 25 October 1990. That would have been in the light
of the previous correspondence and would still be subject to approval
3. In December 1990 when the cheque was
drawn Michael Stoney was based in London and the accounts department
of PAGB was in Hanger Lane. At that time Michael Stoney did not
have day to day responsibility for the accounts department. The
handwriting "paid by PAGB recharge H. Industries" is
Michael Stoney's handwriting. This is not dated because sometimes
Michael Stoney did not date his comments. Michael Stoney would
not have put "paid" unless he believed that the invoice
had been paid. There are a number of possible scenarios. They
1. Someone at PAGB could have told Michael Stoney
that £200,000 had passed through the accounts. He would then
track it down;
2. He could have received a note or a telephone
call from the Chairman's office saying that it had been paid to
GR. MS said that if he had of received such message he was not
likely to query it. Why should he?;
3. Michael Stoney could have drawn the cheque.
Michael Stoney's guess is that he would not have
assumed that the £200,000 going through the bank account
related to the invoice. His guess is that he was told it was paid.
4. By December 1990 Michael Stoney had not
really worked with RM. Michael Stoney was essentially a KM man.
Michael Stoney had originally been the finance director of Oyez
when it was purchased by the Maxwells. That would have been KM's
first job and they had built up a rapport from there. It was only
late December 1990 early January 1991 that MS began to work with
RM. It was at KM's suggestion that MS started to work with RM
in respect of the Mirror float because MS had experience on public
flotations. MS did not want to work with RM because in the previous
year RM had tried to sack him.
5. MS does not recall drawing a cheque for
GR for £200,000. Over the last few years, when questioned
on this subject, MS's recollection had been that GR was not paid
the £200,000. Now that MS has seen that a payment was made
and that he wrote on an invoice that the £200,000 was paid,
MS believes that he must have thought at the time that GR had
been paid the £200,000. MS has no recollection of what he
was thinking on the subject in 1990. At the time what RM did was
up to him. That was always the case and was the background to
working in that organisation.
6. Everything suggests to MS that there
must have been some form of discussion with GR. Someone must have
told GR that he was not getting the £200,000. MS did not
do this. Somebody must have because GR had raised an invoice.
MS believes it is possible that GR had a conversation with RM
and at the end of the conversation it was reported to MS that
RM had agreed to make the payment.
7. In respect of the cashbook vouchers MS
believes that these can be ignored because they are meaningless.
It is dated December 1991 and MS believes that this is a correct
date. What MS believes happened is that when AA were appointed
they wanted to follow where the cash had gone rather than the
inter-company journals. They scrapped all the inter-company accounts
and recreated journals on a cash basis. This was done after the
event. There are no details on the cashbook voucher (e.g. cheque
number) and it also is a design of cashbook voucher which MS does
not recognise. He believes that type of cashbook voucher was prepared
8. PAGB was based at Hanger Lane. Most of
the cashbooks and cheque books will be up there. It is quite likely
that there were cheque books in London as well. There were four
individuals in London who might feasibly have access to a cheque
book. (1) Kevin Maxwell. He had no cheque books. (2) RM. He insisted
on having cheque books for every major operating company. (3)
MS probably had a cheque book. (4) Alan Stevens almost certainly
did not have a cheque book.
9. Two directors of PAGB needed to sign
a cheque or RM on his own.
10. The NatWest cash book was a handmade spreadsheet.
It can be seen that most of the entries were entered at PAGB in
Hanger Lane and most of the cheques would have been produced on
a computer run. Looking at the cashbook, it is apparent that cheque
1751 was put in at the end of the month to reconcile with the
bank statement. This tells MS that it was drawn in London no Hanger
Lane. If you look at the NatWest cashbook there are a series of
end of month reconciliation including noting differences in cheques
and also entering bank charges.
11. Looking at the 1750 series MS believes that
this was the start of a new cheque book. MS cannot think why £5200.00
was drawn to cash, if that is what the entry relates to. MS believes
that normally cash was not drawn in this way. MS was wondering
whether RM took the £5200.00 in cash but has no idea. MS
would like to look at the nominal ledger for the £5200.00.
Where did it get posted in the internal accounts?
12. In respect of the registration fee this sounds
like a London cheque. It sounds like something Alan Stevens wanted
done in a hurry or perhaps RM wanted done. It clearly seems to
be a London cheque book.
13. There would seem to be two possibilities
as to the signatories to the cheque. Either RM signed on his own,
or MS and KM signed the cheque. MS does not remember drawing a
cheque for GR for £200,000, but he might have done.
14. All cheques should have been returned to
Hanger Lane. I explained to MS that 90 out of 109 cheques for
December 1990 have been located. I explained that cheque stubs
had also been located, but none of the cheques of the 1750 series
had been located nor had the cheque book. MS said that returns
should go to Hanger Lane. It is possible that special arrangements
were made for a particular series, but MS believes that it is
likely that the 1750 series was returned to the Chairman's office.
15. I explained to MS that I believed that one
box of cheques and cheque stubs has been found. MS said that this
seemed too few boxes. He would expect more than one box to have
been found with cheques and cheque stubs.
16. Discussion turned as to documentation. MS
said that as part of his work for Andersons (he had been retained
by the Administrator after November 1991) he had prepared a file
of consolidated cash flows. This file shows all the major Maxwell
group companies on the private side. It did not cover PAGB or
MCC. It details every single inflow and outflow. It is called
consolidated cash flows. There are 12 different versions. They
are gestetner ring bound. It is in a recovery file not a company
file. MS reviewed it when he went through the Anderson papers
on behalf of GR to assist with the Downey report. Unless he missed
something he did not note a £200,000 movement. However, he
believes we should re-check this.
17. If we work on the basis that GR did not have
the money, MS said that he did not have the money, KM is unlikely
to have had the money otherwise he would not have written the
letter, that leaves RM. On the assumption that RM did have the
money MS said it is unlikely that he would have paid it to himself.
MS said it was unlikely that he would have transferred the money
out of the Holborn complex. RM had an accountant on the private
side called Robert Bunn. He was effectively Maxwell's private
accountant. If money moved offshore to the Anstalts then it was
Robert Bunn who was involved. Maybe we should ask questions of
18. Discussion then turned to the documentation
of Andersons. MS said that the documentation was poorly indexed.
Even when an index had been prepared you could not be sure that
the documents were there. Effectively this meant you had to go
through every document. The places to start would be the boxes
from RM's office, KM's office, Robert Bunn's office and MS's office.
The Hanger Lane documents were entirely separate. The trouble
with documents in RM's office is that they could be anywhere.
It is quite possible they were shredded. In addition papers went
all over the place including to the SFO. Therefore finding the
papers is extremely difficult. Effectively anything that was held
in London could be anywhere within the Anderson files.
The meeting ended at 7:20 pm.