E-mail to the Parliamentary Commissioner
from Mr Kevin Maxwell
I write further to my earlier email of today in response
to your enquiry of April 2nd 2001.
I understand that you have been sent directly by
Dechert a copy of my letter of February 22nd 1999 to Bernard O'Sullivan
at Dechert together with a copy of his attendance note of February
25th 1999. I do not resile from the
information contained in these documents.
I cannot comment on the actual cheque or its progress
as I have no recollection of the payment and on the contrary have
been left with the strong memory of my father not wishing to make
You have asked me specifically to let you know whether
I now believe that Pergamon made this payment of £200K to
Mr Robinson or one of his beneficial interests in 1990. I believe
both the invoice of 24 October 1990 and the handwritten annotations
to be authentic. However, as I have publicly stated recently in
response to a question from Michael Crick on Newsnight, I do not
believe that it will be possible to prove the beneficiary of the
payment one way or the other in the absence of bank documentation
which I understand no longer exists.
You have also asked me specifically whether I saw
the management accounts of Hollis Industries at the time, the
answer to which is probably yes although, with the passage of
time, I cannot be certain. I believe that the entry properly reflected
the intent to pay Geoffrey Robinson or his company £200,000
against an agreed fee note but given my father's capacity for
change it is possible that the management accounts were published
without the payment having been made.
Finally you have asked me for any other information
or explanation which I can give which may help you to understand
these events. The background to the invoice for £200K is
clear to my mind: namely the desire on the part of Geoffrey Robinson
to obtain remuneration in the context of Central & Sheerwood,
and Hollis Industries and the substantial work that he had personally
and or his private engineering companies had been engaged in for
some years without compensation. The issue of the quantum of payment
was discussed between Geoffrey Robinson and I on a number of occasions
prior to October 1990 and every occasion that the matter was raised,
I subsequently raised the issue with my father. The confusion
over which company would pay probably reflects the fact that Hollis
Industries had no surplus cash or facilities whereas Pergamon
AGB did. My father used central treasuries like that of Pergamon
AGB to settle group wide invoices with internal book keeping entries
being made to reflect appropriate intercompany credits and debits.
I hope that the above information deals fully with
your questions to me. Please do not hesitate to contact me if
I can be of further assistance to you.
3 April 2001