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Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Seventh Report


Annex LL

Affidavit of Michael Stoney

IN THE MATTER OF TRANSFER TECHNOLOGY LIMITED

I, MICHAEL STONEY, of * * * MAKE OATH AND SAY as follows: —

1.  I have been asked to swear this affidavit to set out my recollection relating to payments to Mr Robinson directly or indirectly from companies owned within the Maxwell group. This affidavit is true to the best of my knowledge, information and belief. I would point out that the events in question took place between ten and nearly nine years ago, and inevitably my recollection after such a passage of time is note complete.

2.  In the period in question my official title was Finance Director of Pergamon AGB and subsidiary companies. I performed this function principally out of offices at Hanger Lane in West London. In or around December 1990 I was effectively seconded to work on the flotation of the Mirror Group. The reason for this was because I had experience of public flotations. At this time I therefore changed my base and began to work out of one of the buildings in the Maxwell House complex in Holborn on a full time basis.

3.  From around 1987 Mr Robinson had worked as the Chairman of two engineering companies controlled by Maxwell interests. The two companies were A.L. Dunn & Co Limited ("Dunn") and Coventry Apex Engineering Co Limited ("Apex"). Apex and Dunn were owned by a company called Central & Sheerwood Plc ("C&S"). Under Mr Robinson's direction the performance of Apex and Dunn had been very good. By early December 1990 Mr Robinson had not been remunerated in any way for his work within Apex and Dunn. On 19 December 1990 the board of C&S voted to award Mr Robinson a one off payment of £150,000. In addition Mr Robinson's expenses, which amounted to approximately £20,000, were also paid to Mr Robinson.

4.  During the course of 1990 Transfer Technology Limited (a company then almost wholly owned by Mr Robinson) carried out certain work for Lock International Plc which at that time was a company ultimately beneficially owned by Maxwell interests. It was proposed that Transfer Technology Limited receive a management fee of £200,000 in respect of this work (the "Management Fee"). I was involved in the negotiations of the Management Fee, and had approved the level of fee, subject to the ultimate approval of Robert Maxwell.

5.  I produce as MS1 a copy of an internal note dated 26 November 1990 with attachment which I sent to Kevin Maxwell. The attachment was a copy invoice which had been submitted by Mr Robinson in respect of the Management Fee. On the right hand side of the invoice I wrote "Approved MS 25/10/90" to reflect Kevin Maxwell's approval of the invoice. The approval was, however, still subject to final approval by Robert Maxwell. In the middle at the bottom of the page I have written "Paid by PAGB Recharge H Industries." I comment further on this note below. Finally I confirm that the handwriting on the left hand side of the invoice is that of Shirley Caddock, who was my secretary at the time. I do not understand her note and have no recollection of it.

6.  Over the last eighteen months, when the issue was first raised with me, I have thought very carefully over the question of whether Mr Robinson received £200,000 directly or indirectly.

7.  My firm recollection is and has always been that Mr Robinson only received one payment, the payment of £150,000 plus expenses from C&S, and that the Management Fee was never in fact paid.

8.  I do not recall writing on the invoice "Paid by PAGB Recharge H Industries". I have tried to recollect why I wrote this. It directly contradicts my memory, which is that the Management Fee was not in fact paid. At this time I now do not know what caused me to write this note. I understand that a cheque for £200,000 was drawn on the Pergamon AGB Plc Bank account in December 1990. The cheque was drawn from a different series of cheques to the cheques drawn from the regular cheque run at Hanger Lane. At this time I was extremely busy working on the Mirror Group float. It is quite possible that someone from the accounts department based at Hanger Lane contacted me in January 1991 i.e. after the month end, and asked who the £200,000 was paid to. Given the extremely hectic atmosphere, it may be that I mistook the £200,000 payment out by Pergamon AGB Plc to have been the money which was to be paid to Mr Robinson's services within C&S, and that this caused me to write "paid" on the invoice. This is a possibility, but at this point in time I cannot now be certain.
Sworn by MICHAEL STONEY )
at 81, Alleyn Road, London )[Signed by Michael Stoney]
SE21 8AD)
on the 8th day of November 1999 )

Before me: —

[Signed by Rodney Emmott, Solicitor]

A Solicitor/Commissioner for Oaths

Affidavit of Michael Stoney

IN THE MATTER OF TRANSFER TECHNOLOGY LIMITED

EXHIBIT "MS1"

This is Exhibit "MS1" referred to in the Affidavit of Michael Stoney sworn the 8th day of November 1999.

Before me,

[Signed by Rodney Emmott, Solicitor]

A Solicitor/Commissioner for Oaths





 
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