Examination of witness (Question 220-239)|
TUESDAY 1 MAY 2001
220. So in the complaints that have been made
against you, Geoffrey, about the destination of this £200,000
that was on your invoice, you have stated that the money did not
go to any of the companies connected with you, as I stated, whether
it was Roll Centre, Sarclad, this is always the merged companies?
(Mr Robinson) Or any other companies.
221. These are the ones we particularly talked
about in relation to this. Would you also give the Committee your
assurance that no amount of £200,000 went to any trust linked
(Mr Robinson) Absolutely no trusts. They were set
222. All of them were set up afterwards?
(Mr Robinson) They were all set up afterwards.
223. None of them were set up prior to this?
(Mr Robinson) No, none at all. I wonder if, at that
point, I might ask the Commissioner, on the question of trusts,
did you seek to talk to the Inland Revenue at all in the whole
of your part of the investigation? This is just the trusts coming
up there. No, absolutely, there were no trusts, and I do not think,
in fairness, even the Commissioner suggests that they could have
been paid into any trusts. There were none, absolutely none, there
were not any.
Shona McIsaac: That will do for now,
224. Can I refer you to Annex Q which is your
tab 5, page 28. It is the October management accounts of Hollis
Industries. You have referred to this earlier. Is this note produced
on a monthly basis?
(Mr Robinson) I do not know how often they did them.
Presumably they did them I would not know. You see, although
I was deputy chairman, it was all run in-house at Maxwell, he
owned it 100 per cent, it was one of his companies. I would never
have seen this, as I did not see the accounts. All I was doing
was trying to make a go of Lock.
225. The reason I asked is because it suggests
at the bottom in the table that if it was produced on a monthly
basis, this management fee would have shown up over several months;
it was not just the October one it would have shown up in, it
would have shown up in November and December as well, but you
would not have seen those?
(Mr Robinson) I imagine we could check that for you,
but I am sure the case is it would have turned up, because it
ends up in the statutory accounts for the yearquite erroneously,
as you know, because it was never paid in in October.
226. One can see that an error might be missed
if it only occurred once, but if the error is being published
on a monthly basis it is more surprising that it was not picked
up. Are you surprised to see no mention of Lock on that page?
(Mr Robinson) Here?
227. Note 7 does not refer to Lock in any way,
(Mr Robinson) No, none of the companies are mentioned
there. Also PSS, which was a company that came into the groupI
did not have to do anything with it, it had a management team
and was very well runthat is not mentioned either.
228. But when note 7 talks about a management
fee, you have told us that that was the management fee for which
you invoiced, either on behalf of yourself or on behalf of TransTec,
but which was never paid, but which referred solely to Lock and
not to Hollis?
(Mr Robinson) For my work.
229. For your work for Lock?
(Mr Robinson) Absolutely.
230. Would Lock have produced its own accounts?
(Mr Robinson) We had our own accounts, yes. I am pretty
sure I can say that no payment in respect of that would appearI
can try and get them for you, if you likein the Lock accounts.
231. Does Lock have its own set of directors?
(Mr Robinson) Yes. I am not surebut I can come
back on thatthat I was formally a director, I just do not
remember, I am sorry.
232. Whether you were or not, there would have
been other directors?
(Mr Robinson) Oh yes, because it was a trading company.
233. They would have been separate from the
(Mr Robinson) Yes, nothing to do with Hollis. I do
not know who was on the board of Hollis. It is totally separate,
it is nothing to do with Hollis.
234. Apart from being wholly owned?
(Mr Robinson) Yes.
235. Going back to the answer you gave to the
Chairman in June 1998, when the Chairman asked whether you expected
to receive any benefit of any kind in respect of your chairmanship
of the companythat is, the chairmanship of Hollis which
owns LockI remind myself, and tell me whether I am wrong,
that one of the reasons you say you may not have been interested
in pursuing the £200,000 that was owed to your business TransTec
was that there were some capital arrangements going on which brought
great benefit to you?
(Mr Robinson) Well, the merger.
236. The merger, and that was of greater benefit
than the £200,000?
(Mr Robinson) Oh yes. I think that is made clear in
the Commissioner's report.
237. If that benefit had not been there, the
£200,000 would have been more important?
(Mr Robinson) Yes. I think if the merger had not gone
through, we would have pursued it, yes, I am sure of that.
238. So leaving aside whether or not the £200,000
was paid in December, as the Pergamon AGB accounts say, and the
charge made across to the Hollis accounts, leaving that on one
side, if the £200,000 had not been paid, and you chose deliberately
not to pursue it, it was because there was a greater benefit in
(Mr Robinson) Yes.
239. So there is not an issue in front of us
as to whether there is a benefit or not; the question is whether
that becomes registrable?
(Mr Robinson) I do not know. You know, whether the
issue is registration there or not, I am taking very seriously
everything that Alan has said and you are saying now, but I do
not think that is the big issue really for the Committee. The
issue for the CommitteeI am sorry for that, but this is,
if I may say so, from my point of view. What seems to be the big
issue for me is whether I was paid and I am lying about it.