Select Committee on Standards and Privileges First Report

Annex 1

Letter to Mr Geoffrey Robinson MP from Parnell Kerr Forster


Further to the oral instructions of Mr Bernard O'Sullivan of Decherts, solicitors, which were confirmed in our letter to you of 4 June 2001, we are writing to set out the details of the results of the work undertaken. We were asked to carry out a search for a specific returned cheque contained within 406 boxes of information and papers at the London offices of Andersen. The cheque we were searching for is cheque number 1751 drawn on NatWest Bank, Chancery Lane branch in the sum of £200,000 on the account of Pergamon AGB and which was debited to the bank on 11 December 1990. We also searched the boxes of information and papers for the related cheque stub for this particular cheque.

The boxes, which were sequentially numbered, were made available to us at the offices of Andersen in London. From our review we noted that two boxes were missing from the sequences. Andersen informed us that the contents of one box had been incorporated in to others of the 406 boxes and therefore no longer existed. In the case of the second box number, this had not been located and no explanation was provided. After further searches over some weeks, Andersen confirmed that they had located the missing box. We therefore revisited Andersen's offices to inspect this last box.

We did not find the returned cheque or the corresponding cheque stub in any of the 406 boxes we inspected.

We understand that all cheques were returned by banks to companies within the Maxwell organisation and should therefore be retained within the papers thereof unless the cheque has been wilfully destroyed. If you wish to pursue the search further despite the negative outcome of our initial work, we consider that the next course of action would be to search the documents retained which are personal to Mr Maxwell and also those documents retained from Mr Maxwell's private companies.

If you have any queries or wish to proceed with a search of further documents please do not hesitate to contact Hugh Mathew-Jones.

11 October 2001

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