Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report

Annex 3

Key extracts of a transcript of an interview between Mr Rajeev Syal, Mr Chris Hastings and Mr Jaffer Kapsi on Friday 3 March 2000

  RS:  What we wanted to know is that we have been speaking to people who have been giving Mr Vaz money. There is nothing wrong with giving him money for election expenses. Obviously there is nothing wrong with doing that. The only thing that is wrong is if he does not declare it. Then he has done something wrong. Have you ever given him money.

  JK:  Well yes, but seriously, I would deny it if anybody asked. (laughs)

  CH:  (Says something inaudible)

  RS:  We are trying to figure out how much money he would have given before the 1997 election. Do you know?

  JK:  I think, again off the record as you know, but the BCCI really, he made a lot of money out of BCCI. That's when people started giving him a lot of money. You see many of our people had trusted the bank . . . (inaudible) and they thought there was a conspiracy against the bank.

  JK:  I know people who gave money because they say he promised us you know you will get most of your money back.

  RS:  What? Saying, please give us . . .

  JK:  Yes.

  RS:  What kind of quantities . . . (interrupts). A lot of people were giving 7,000 so they would get 70,000 back, saying so go on take it, because you are an MP, a powerful man.

  CH:  Did that actually go on?

  JK:  I have not got anything to substantiate it but its not as if anybody is going to say yes, but . . . it's very hard to prove. I told you yesterday of the incident when we asked him not to get involved in local politics and he just walks away from us after all these years.

  CH:  You know the period immediately before the last election. A number of people say they donated in 1995, 1996 and 1997. Do you know what kind of sums people would have given him then? I mean, off the record, are we able to ask how much you were asked to give?

  JK:  I was asked to give a thousand and I ended up giving him about £500.

  RS:  In 1997? So we can check, and see if he has declared it.

  CH:  Did you give it as an individual or as a company?

  JK:  As an individual.

  CH:  And you made it out to him? A cheque? To Keith Vaz?

  JK:  Cash.

  RS:  I have spoken to other people who say they have given cheques.

  JK:  I think these people should really stand up.

  CH:  When did you give your £500? Was it 1990.

  JK:  Let me see . . . was it 1992 or 1991 . . .

  RS:  91 or 92.

  JK:  And he was asked to pay cash, yes.

  RS:  Were you asked to give him anything else round the 97 general election?

  JK:  No, but many other people did.

  RS:  How does he collect money. Does he come around himself?

  JK:  No.

  CH:  So you go round with the £500.

  (Can hear no response)

  RS:  What was it in, a brown envelope?

  JK:  A white envelope (laughs).

  (Inaudible exchange)

  CH:  People say to us they gave him money because they wanted an Asian MP and they thought they were doing the right thing. It's not their fault if he hasn't declared it. Is that general feeling that people felt it was important to help.

  JK:  To be honest, with you to many people it's not (inaudible word). You see, from the background we come from, these things are very common. From were we come, my father, he didn't like it but sometimes money was demanded of him. And he had to give money often. (inaudible sentence). So you see, we come from this background. But you do realise that if he asked me for it (inaudible words). You see I would not have even known 15 years ago if you had asked me that as an MP he has to declare all of this.

  CH:  Yes, it's not your responsibility. I mean if I want to give £20 million to Keith Vaz tomorrow I can do, but he must write down that I have given him £20 million so it can be checked in the House of Commons.

  JK:  I think it is worth checking out, especially the BCCI thing. I remember lots of businessmen talking to me.

  RS:  Do you think any of them would talk to us if we . . . (interrupts)

  CH:  Do you know anyone individual we could trust.

  RS:  We won't mention your name. If you give us the names of individuals we could call and approach. We will just knock on their door and say we are talking to BCCI creditors and we understand that some of them have been asked for money by Keith Vaz and we were wondering if they might want to talk. If they don't want to talk then its over really.

  JK:  I can give you a couple of names that you might want to try. Though they will deny it, you can try.

  CH:  Is there any one else in Leicester aside from the BCCI thing who might have given money for the 92 or 97 election campaign. Obviously we have come across a couple.

  JK:  I can think of some people from the Sikh community. Some of them are (inaudible).

  CH:  Have they talked to you about giving . . .

  Interrupts JK:  Some have, but yes, they were promised that a lot of money would be recovered because he used to go to Abu Dhabi and go and meet the Sheikh or whoever and (inaudible)

  CH:  Did he promise people anything in return, did he promise you anything. Did he hint at. (pause) what sort of hints does he say?

  JK:  He said he would help us with a planning issue that's all.

  CH:  He said that to you.

  JK:  Mmm.

  RS:  Outrageous.

  CH:  You have never sought his help or anything like that, you have just not . . . no (pause). I mean some people want to talk about the subject and some don't. It's obviously very sensitive.

  JK:  From my extent many people will not want to get involved. They don't want to know.

  RS:  Do you think that if we guaranteed people anonymity they would want to get involved.

  JK:  No.

  RS:  Even if we said that we are not going to mention names.

  JK:  They will not even admit, some of them, they will not even admit that they have done it. It would be seen as a scandal you know . . . (inaudible) especially with Mohammed Al Fayed making all these noises about it all (inaudible). You know its quite widely publicised . . . (inaudible).

  CH:  You know in the Sikh community did someone go round and collect from them did they do as you did, or did they go to Uppingham Road individually.

  JK:  I don't think he would have collected any money. People would have come and seen, you know under the table (inaudible).

  RS:  How does he get money out of people? Does he approach them and say can you give me money. Is that what he did with you. Did he give you a call saying can you come and give us some money? Is that what he did with you? Did he give you a call? Did he give you a call saying can you come and give me some money?

  JK:  It's more subtle than that being a solicitor as well. He says "I will do this for you, but the (inaudible word) that I expect is some of my expenditure". Not in an open way. A person can incur a lot of expenditure in my duties and I need you to finance it. He will not say look here do you think a backhand . . . (inaudible) give me £500 and I will do the job for you but I will have some expenses, can you finance the expenditure. I think when he asked me I said can I have a bill for it and I will pay for it. But he says no there's no bill, he incurred this expenditure and he needed to finance it.

  RS:  What were you asking for? Were you asking for planning permission? For here?

  JK:  For a place of worship.

  RS:  He was asking for money for him to sort out a mosque with the local council.

  JK:  To finance it, yes.

  CH:  You're joking.

  RS:  Outrageous. A mosque?

  CH:  Where was that?

  JK:  Hamilton.

  CH:  An he actually said that to you.

  JK:  That he would incur expenditure and (inaudible word) funds. His mother was very crude. She would have (inaudible words). But he was much more subtle than that.

  RS:  Is it Hamilton where there is a temple, a mosque? That is where we were told that all three were asked to donate money. And was this in 1990?

  JK:  1991.

  RS:  Do you think that any of the other people will talk to us about it.

  JK:  I can give you phone numbers but they will not talk to you. They are just like me. To be so careful . . .

  CH:  The £500 that you gave him was specifically to do with mosque application. God does not stop at much does he? Did you get the application in the end.

  JK:  No, it's still going on.

  RS:  How much did the others pay?

  JK:  I think they were asked to pay £1,000 each.

  RS:  How much did the others pay.

  JK:  The Hindu group paid £500. I don't know about the Sikhs.

  CH:  That was to him, you gave yours to him?

  JK:  Yes, I delivered it myself, you know.

  CH:  Did he say it as blatantly as that, give me £1,000 and I will help you get planning permission for the Mosque.

  JK:  Yes.

  RS:  Terrible.

  (Kapasi leaves the room).

  (Kapasi re-enters the room).

  RS:  If he had confirmation from enough people off the record we could run a story saying that we have been told. That's the point. If we get confirmation off say people. That's why we would like to talk to the Sikh and Hindu groups.

  (Pause). They might do. Are they unhappy with Keith, do you know?

  JK:  They are genuinely unhappy but they are genuinely scared. Because of his performance. He is avoiding people and turning nasty on those that signed the especially myself and the others. Mr Attwall and so on.

  RS:  Why is he turning nasty on Mr Attwall?

  JK:  Because he also signed the declaration.

  RS:  This was the declaration was back in 1994.

  CH:  Well we are not breaking a confidence, Mr Attwall told us about the . . .

  JK:  Yes. Mr Attwall is really looking for someone to stand against him. As an independent genuinely. He has got the money to finance it. (Looking through book). Mr N Waghela—2340600—he's from the Hindu community and from the Sikh community, I think they have changed their structure.

  (Kapasi leaves room again).

  (Kapasi re-enters).

  CH:  Do you think—I am thinking of my experience in Newcastle—this is why he is so keen to dominate the council. So he can control the planning process.

  JK:  See, what he has done is that all the Leicester East constituency wards within the council he more or less controls those councillors. So you should be very, very careful if you went there. They will not say a word against Keith, no.

  Also, the (inaudible) will not say anything against Keith. It's a mafia, in a way (chuckles).

  CH:  You get the feeling that he is quite vulnerable, in the sense that people are talking.

  RS:  And there is an investigation into him at the moment.

  CH:  I think people feel confident up to a point.

  JK:  I think he will come out of this one in a really nice way.

  RS:  Why?

  JK:  Because of this Zaiwalla. He will ride this through. Because there again you can see the BCCI thing again. He was a permanent solicitor in the City with all the network he has, he was able to get involved with Keith and big political conversion (inaudible few words).

  CH:  Do you think that Mr Zaiwalla gave him the money?

  JK:  I wouldn't be surprised. I wouldn't be surprised. Because its part of the culture, you know what I mean.

  RS:  But this is outrageous. He asks for money for planning permission.

  CH:  The worst thing is that he preys on people's weaknesses and good nature. Obviously with this project of the three (inaudible).

  JK:  I will give you these names Khalid 2530380.

  RS:  What's his surname.

  JK:  (Inaudible)

  RS:  And did he give money to Keith.

  JK:  He will not admit it.

  RS:  No? Will he call Keith as soon as we ask him? He wont call him. He wont help him.

  JK:  Its lots of money so they cant say anything to anyone. If someone takes a hundred pounds . . . (inaudible few words).

  CH:  Yes.

  JK:  If someone takes thousands of pounds promising something.

  RS:  Is it thousands of pounds that he took from this man.

  JK:  Thats right. And the

  RS:  Again, did he pay cash?

  JK:  mm.

  RS:  That's a shame.

  JK:  He's very, very clever.

  RS:  But we have heard that some people have paid him with cheques. Have you not heard that from any of your contacts.

  JK:  Because he deliberately asks for it. I told him when we were asked to contribute to his expenditure. I said it's community money, I'm not paying it from my own pocket. And he said there's no way I can accept a cheque.

  CH:  Really. He said that to you? There was no way he could accept a cheque?

  JK:  This is community money. You have to get the permission of the board, you can't just get whatever money is needed and take some money out without telling the board. If you are going to spend so much money you (inaudible few words).

  RS:  So it was just you and him? No other witnesses? He is clever.

  CH:  His mother sounds an interesting character.

  JK:  The mother could be very (inaudible word) you could catch her easily. He has used her, his mother, as well you know.

  CH:  Yes.

  JK:  Very clever in some cases where things are a bit rough and he will use his mother to tell someone off, go and demand something.

  CH:  We have been told by someone that sometimes the mother actually goes to collect money or cheques from him.

  JK:  That does not surprise me. He will do that. If anything is sort of formal then he will use his mother to sort this one out. There is also a case going on with the city council his sister is suing the city council for unfair dismissal.

  RS:  Is that his sister or sister-in-law?

  JK:  His sister.

  RS:  Not Valerie. The other sister.

  JK:  She won her appeal I believe.

  RS:  You would never consider putting in a formal complaint. Have you ever thought about it. Why could the three of you get together and put forward a formal complaint.

  It would be your words against his? Three religious leaders against Keith. I know who I would believe. I don't understand why you haven't done it? What are you scared of.


  RS:  Well I do know.

  JK:  It gets messy you know. You want to live a peaceful life, not with all this hassle . . .

  CH:  It's amazing. If he has done that what is he doing now?

  JK:   It's the BCCI people, . . . many contacts through Zaiwalla and so on. (Inaudible).

  RS:  Do you know anyone in London that we could call?

  JK:  (Gets book from shelf).

  RS:  Who publishes it?

  JK:  Mr Sancha?

  RS:  Have you heard of Hansib Publications . . . (inaudible exchange).

  RS:  How much money has Keith raised over the years?

  JK:  Tens of thousands of pounds.

  RS:  What would he have done with it. Put it into property. He has a house in Goa. He has his own house.

  CH:  He definitely has property there.

  JK:  100 per cent.

  CH:  It's not his mothers or.

  JK:  It could be under anyones name.

  $$$ to be continued. . .

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