Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of witness (Question 20-39)



  20. If the answer to this question is you do not know I will not pursue it. What I thought was one question is now, in fact, two questions. First of all, if we assume that this £503,000, which you are personally guaranteeing, existed, if that is an accurate figure, roughly accurate, the first question has to be do you happen to know whether that £500,000 was actually reduced by £200,000 or not? If you are not sure that is absolutely acceptable.
  (Mr Robinson) I am not sure.

  21. If that is the case there is no real point in me pursuing the question of whether that £200,000 if it did exist, whether on paper or in real change and liabilities or assets, could have been the £200,000 which had been dealt with by the Commissioner's inquiries?
  (Mr Robinson) We can come on to that in a moment.

  22. It may not be necessary.
  (Mr Robinson) It is the strongest part of the Commissioner's case against me.

  23. Can I change thoughts now away from Annex GG. In the documents in front of us, if you go to Annex G on page 15 to Annex N for nanny on page 25.
  (Mr Robinson) Yes.

  24. There is basically a discussion, negotiation, exchange—exchange is probably the best word for it—between you representing, in effect, TransTec—
  (Mr Robinson) Yes.

  25.—and the Maxwell/Pergamon interests of Hollis and Lock.
  (Mr Robinson) Yes.

  26. So if I think of the TransTec family interest, which is a group around you, and I think of Lock and Hollis at that time as Maxwell/Pergamon business, I read this exchange as your view, you corporately or you individually, but I am happy to accept you corporately, saying to them corporately "we will provide services to Lock/Hollis".
  (Mr Robinson) No, not Hollis. Hollis was nothing. It was only to Lock. Lock was the company. I am sorry to come back on it but it was a point I made about one of the Commissioner's findings earlier. Hollis was the holding company, Lock was a subsidiary. My only work at all was with Lock, nothing to do with Hollis at all, hence whatever else one finds I cannot understand her finding on that particular—

  27. Was Lock a wholly owned subsidiary of Hollis?
  (Mr Robinson) Yes.

  28. Yes?
  (Mr Robinson) Yes.

  29. Were you a director of Hollis?
  (Mr Robinson) No.[2]

  30. Were you in this exchange with the Maxwell/Pergamon interests negotiating a fee in relation to the work which you were going to be doing for Lock, the wholly owned subsidiary of Hollis?
  (Mr Robinson) Only for Lock.

  31. Which was the wholly owned subsidiary of Hollis.
  (Mr Robinson) Yes.

  32. And included in the services which you were going to be providing to this Hollis company, Lock, was your executive chairmanship?
  (Mr Robinson) Of what?

  33. Of Lock.
  (Mr Robinson) Yes, but I do not know that I ever was. Not of Hollis.

  34. That was what the negotiation was?
  (Mr Robinson) It was not just about that. I may—

  35. I do not want to interrupt you unnecessarily. It included the provision of your services as executive chairman of Lock?
  (Mr Robinson) If I may say so, the account given of it by the Commissioner is a bit misleading because she does not quote the next bit, and I have the exhibit of it here, by going into all the detail of what the service agreement will be, one part of which is my being in charge of delivering that service.

  36. Forgive me, the exchange of letters, and I can go through which one says it, include you as executive chairman. If I look, for example, at Annex G, page 15, what is probably the fifth paragraph, "in addition to the commitment GR", that is Geoffrey Robinson, "as executive chairman".
  (Mr Robinson) Of?

  37. Of Lock.
  (Mr Robinson) Nothing to do with Hollis.

  38. Lock, you have confirmed, was a wholly owned subsidiary of Hollis.
  (Mr Robinson) That does not make me as executive chairman of Lock, executive chairman of Hollis. Working in my capacity as that, if I was ever nominated to it, I am not sure I was, we can have a look at that—If I was not then your point falls. I am not sure that I was. I was not. You cannot try to co-equate these two things and say, therefore, I was working as non-exec chairman of Hollis and should have declared it, it just does not stand up.

  39. I have not tried to make a point, I have tried to ask a clear question, a clear question to which you may want to give the answer yes, which is this exchange was about the provision of services including you as executive chairman of Lock, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hollis?
  (Mr Robinson) I do not think that is a complete statement.

2   Note by witness: I should have answered yes to this question. Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 4 May 2001