Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Seventh Report

Annex PP

E-mail to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

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 the payment.

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

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