Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards from Mr Graeme Peene
Thank you for your letter of 3rd May 2001 the contents
of which have been noted and I would advise as follows:
Mr VAZ should have had no involvement whatsoever
with the Russian Butter criminal investigation. The investigation
was highly confidential, there was a suspected Russian Mafia/Irish
connection also of interest to HM Customs & Excise, and as
a consequence the investigation had been kept within a very limited
circle within the Intervention Board Anti Fraud Unit.
At the time of Mr VAZ writing to myself only one
visit/enquiry had been made in connection with the Russian Butter
investigation, the premises visited were those of M Ltd, and my
colleague and I spoke to the Export Director. The officer who
accompanied me was Mr F, Intervention Board, Research & Intelligence
Section, Reading. Mr F would hold the papers in relation to the
The following chronology of events are important:
· The letter received
from Mr VAZ was dated 14th April 1999 less than two weeks after
the initial visit had been made to the premises of M Ltd.
· The visit to Mr VAZ's Surgery took place
on 17th April 1999.
· The Companies House searches were made
on 21st April 1999 (See print date on Companies House Direct Extracts).
It is my understanding that Mr S is a Director, or
was connected with M Ltd. Given the confidential manner in which
the investigation was being conducted it can only be concluded
that the Export Director must have spoken with Mr S or one of
the other of Officers of the company.
Mr S is a Director of Skillshare Africa appointed
on 30th May 1992. Mr VAZ was a Director of Skillshare Africaresigned
on 13th July 1992. I can only surmise that Mr S contacted Mr VAZ
after the initial visit to the premises of M Ltd and requested
him to make enquiries on his/their behalf.
The other Companies House Direct extracts were included
because it was thought they might assist you in the course of
your enquiries in relation to other matters you may be investigating.
The approach made by Mr VAZ was reported to my immediate
line manager former Senior Investigation Officer David Webb, and
the former Head of the Anti Fraud Unit, Mr James Hutchison, and
the reason why the Companies House Direct Searches were carried
out on 21st April 1999.
It would now appear that the Intervention Board Senior
Management are now denying having any knowledge of the approach.
This is in line with other events occurring at the Intervention
Board where matters are being denied, suppressed, covered up,
and one of the reasons for my taking the matter out of their hands
to ensure that in this instance the appropriate action is taken.
I am sorry I have no further information.
9 May 2001