Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Seventh Report

Annex OO

Letter to Mr Bernard O'Sullivan, Titmuss Sainer Dechert,

from Mr Kevin Maxwell




On behalf of Geoffrey Robinson you have asked me to set out my recollection of a proposal that in 1990 a management contract be entered into between Hollis and TransTec in respect of the Lock business.

I am writing this letter out of my long-standing personal acquaintance with Geoffrey Robinson and to assist him in setting the record straight on this particular issue in view of the substained media witch hunt against him, which I abhor. This letter has been prepared to the best of my recollection, but you will appreciate that after nine years memories are not completely reliable. I have retained no documentation on this matter myself and have only seen the documents you have supplied to me.

By the beginning of 1990 Lock was loss making. Geoffrey Robinson was appointed by my father, Robert Maxwell, to try and turn the company around. At this time TransTec was, to my understanding, almost wholly owned by Geoffrey Robinson. TransTec begam to provide engineering and sales support to Lock to assist with the Lock business.

Geoffrey Robinson proposed that this arrangement be formalised under a new management agreement. Ultimately a fee of £200,000 per annum was arrived at, subject to my father's approval. I put this proposal to him in his capacity as Group Chairman. My clear recollection is that my father finally refused to sanction any such payment, despite having previously verbally agreed. He was of the opinion that Maxwell interests had lost too much money in Hollis and he was not prepared to sanction any payments to Geoffrey Robinson or any company associated with him. Consequently no payment was made.

Aside from my recollection relating to the general support TransTec was providing to Lock and my father's refusal to sanction any payment, I do not recall any of the details surrounding this matter.

22 February 1999

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