Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of witness (Question 140-159)



  140. It is not owed by Hollis Industries, is it?
  (Mr Robinson) It is not what?

  141. It is not owed by Hollis, it is owed by Lock? Correct?
  (Mr Robinson) No.[5]

  142. You thought you were going to get Lock's money, £200,000?
  (Mr Robinson) Yes.

  143. It was for Lock, not Hollis. If we go even to the address "Hollis Industries". Do they work out of the same address both Hollis and Lock?
  (Mr Robinson) No. Hollis had a registered office, that was all it had. Lock was up here in Oldham.

  144. In that case why did you not write to them? It was their debt, they had an office, they had an accountant they owed you the money.
  (Mr Robinson) That was quite clear. The Lock situation was a very bad condition. It was up to Maxwell himself and Kevin and Michael where the money was paid. The instructions for that invoice would have come from them, absolutely from them. We would not have sent it to Lock at all. It was always understood it would come from one of the Maxwell overall holding companies. Hollis had no money, as I think Kevin said there somewhere, so it probably would have been paid by PAGB, which it was not, but then re-invoiced to Hollis. I do not think there is anything strange in our seeking payment from Maxwell at the centre.

  145. From Hollis. Stick to what we know. You wrote to Hollis. You billed Hollis and it says a charge was put to Hollis. That is what it says there.
  (Mr Robinson) No, we were paid by PAGB if we were paid.

  146. Why did you not bill them?
  (Mr Robinson) Pardon?

  147. Why did you not bill them?
  (Mr Robinson) We were not told to.

  148. That would have been better, you would have more chance of getting it?
  (Mr Robinson) No, I do not think so, you would have had more chance of getting it only if Robert Maxwell says you can have it.

  149. We have two people who said you can have it now?
  (Mr Robinson) Robert Maxwell. May I just complete that point? It was all subject to the Chairman, Robert Maxwell's agreement. There is no other person. Did I mention somebody else?

  Mr Williams: When you say "him" you mean Maxwell?

  Mr Campbell-Savours: No one else.

Mr Williams

  150. In effect what you are saying is it did not matter whether you wrote to Hollis or whether you wrote to Lock, they were synonymous?
  (Mr Robinson) No. What it meant was, what you put on a piece of paper was not important, what you needed was Bob Maxwell's agreement to pay it. He would then make up his own mind how to pay it. That much seems absolutely clear to me and unquestionably clear. I cannot see any question about that at all.

  151. If you wrote to Hollis, the logic of your position is you would have written to the master company.
  (Mr Robinson) Who knew what the master company of Maxwell was?

  152. If anybody did, you did. My God, if you do not understand it.
  (Mr Robinson) I think I take exception to that remark, if I may. The idea that I was in any way central to Maxwell operations is wrong.

  153. You have just told us really that the money would not have come from Hollis, it would not have come from Lock, it would have come from Pergamon.
  (Mr Robinson) I did not say that. I said it came from Pergamon. I did not say where it would have come from. What I said was what you needed was the agreement of Bob Maxwell and then he would himself decide how to pay for it. May I just come back to your other point, may I, where you said if I do not know nobody would. I do not want to be in any sense offensive or rude but, do you know, after the Maxwell collapse I was not interviewed by any of the people involved in this. So peripheral were my activities in these areas that I was not at the centre at all. It was, if I may say so, a far leading remark that was made. May I say I was not interviewed by any of the people in that inquiry that followed the Maxwell collapse.

  154. The allegation is you did not register Hollis. You are saying you did not have income from Hollis?
  (Mr Robinson) Yes.

  155. You did have income from Lock?
  (Mr Robinson) Which I did not register until I received it.

  156. Did you register Lock?
  (Mr Robinson) Can I start again? You said I did have income from Central & Sheerwood.

  157. From Lock. You were entitled, you had a pecuniary interest in Lock. Did you register that other interest?
  (Mr Robinson) What is the other?

  158. Hollis and Lock? The charge was—
  (Mr Robinson) They are one and the same thing.

  159. They are one and the same?
  (Mr Robinson) Can I come back and explain exactly what I think you are after here. It comes back to the same thing all the time. My initial statement to Sir Gordon was that I did not seek nor receive any remuneration in my capacity as executive chairman of Hollis.

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

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