Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report

Annex 67

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Mr Brian Brown


  Thank you for your letter dated 11 February 2000.

  I only became aware of your investigation on 9 February when a reporter from the Sunday Telegraph telephoned me at home to inform me that an earlier telephone conversation I had had with one Andrew Milne had been taped and passed to your office. I should at this point tell you that because of certain methods employed by the Sunday Telegraph to coerce a statement from me about events of which I knew absolutely nothing, I declined all invitations to speak to them and that will remain to be the case. I personally believe that the above mentioned Andrew Milne who partially lost a civil action in the High Court brought by Mr Sarosh Zaiwalla last year began a campaign to discredit Mr Zailwalla through media attention. That, of course, may not be of any assistance with your enquiry.

  To address the question asked in your letter, I will say that I was never present at any discussions, meetings or other transactions between Mr Zaiwalla and Mr Baldry. Indeed, as I understand it, allegations relate to 1997 or after and I ceased to be an employee of Mr Zaiwalla in November 1994.

  I do, however, recall that a payment of I think £1,000 was made to Mr Vaz by Mr Zaiwalla for what I seem to recall was described as being for an "office fund". I do not, however, remember the date upon which the payment was made though it was whilst Mr Zaiwalla's practice was housed at 95A Chancery Lane which I suppose makes it prior to May 1994. I have been informed by the Sunday Telegraph reporter that a statement by a third party (whom I assume is Andrew Milne) stated that I was initially requested to hand Mr Vaz a cheque which was refused and the payment was requested in cash which I withdrew from the firm's bank and handed in an envelope to Mr Vaz. This may or may not be the case, I simply cannot be certain though I suspect that it could be the case. I was certainly not involved in any discussions which led to the payment being made nor was I made aware whether the payment was a gift or a loan.

  I trust this reply has been of some use and please feel free to contact me again if you feel I can assist further.

16 February 2000

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