Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Seventh Report

Annex D

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

from Mr Tom Bower

In reply to your letter of 4 April 2001:

1) I did ask Mr Robinson directly if he had been paid and received the £200,000 from Hollis. This was after he had confirmed the authenticity of the 'Orchards' invoice.

2) He agreed that he had been paid.

3) He explained that the invoice was for his work at Locks (a Hollis subsidiary).

4) He asked whether I knew the identity of the account into which the £200,000 was paid? I replied that I did not. He asked in a challenging manner which suggested that his question was rhetorical and he knew the answer. He did not deny that the money had been paid.

We briefly discussed his standard reply that neither he nor a company associated with him got the money. I mentioned that this side-stepped the possibility that an off-shore trust might have been the recipient. Afterall, Caddock wrote on the invoice that Mr Robinson wanted the money 'personally' and was not VAT registered. I do not believe that he reacted to that point.

Concerning your last point, I inferred that he had told the committee that he had not solicited the payment by his statement that his directorship of Pergamon was unpaid. Since he stated that he was an unremunerated director, he explicitly implies that he did not solicit payment.

Furthermore, in reply to question (ii) listed in Appendix 5 (p.xxv) of the July 1998 report, Mr Robinson is asked whether he expected any benefit. He replied in Appendix 6 'No', which explicitly excludes the presentation of an invoice for £200,000.

On page xxviii Mr Robinson states that 'this remuneration was not agreed by me'. That suggests that he did not ask for the money.

I hope this is helpful.

5 April 2001

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