Transcription of an interview by the Parliamentary
Commissioner for Standards with Mr Tom Sackville held on 24 October
MS FILKIN: Thank you for coming to see me. When did
you work for Mr Auchi?
MR SACKVILLE: I worked part time at Auchi's companies
from September '97 until September '98, I should think.
MS FILKIN: '97 to '98, for some of the Auchi companies?
MR SACKVILLE: Yes, I should say employed by a German
bank that he owned, but he did not own it because the German authorities
refused to allow the shares to be transferred into his name, but
it was in trusteeship. I was a director of this bank in Germany
which they paid for, and I was being paid by General Mediterranean
UK and also by General Mediterranean Luxembourg.
MS FILKIN: Yes, those are the two companies, of course,
which I have got annual reports about.
MR SACKVILLE: But I was not a director of either
of them. I was a director of the bank in Germany which was called
Bankhaus Nord in Kiel.
MS FILKIN: Could you spell that for me?
MR SACKVILLE: Bankhaus as in the German Bankhaus,
-o-r-d. I am so sorry, Bank Compagnie, spelt in the French way;
Bank Compagnie Nord - N-o-r-d - in Kiel. The only thing I can
tell you that is sort of at all firm is that I was aware, from
talk in the office, that money, during that period, was going
in some form to Vaz, but probably to some newspaper which was
being circulated around to ethnic communities, which I would have
thought was a very good way of paying an MP without him being
attacked. That is what the assumption was in the office.
MS FILKIN: When you say "that period",
do you mean from September '97?
MR SACKVILLE: It was certainly during that period
such payments were made.
MS FILKIN: You cannot remember when you first heard?
MR SACKVILLE: No, no, because, you see, it would
all be talk and circulation around.
MS FILKIN: Yes, but at least between September '97
and September '98?
MR SACKVILLE: Yes.
MS FILKIN: Some time during that period you were
MR SACKVILLE: Yes, I was aware of the fact that he
was supporting Vaz or some project of Vaz in some way. I do not
remember all the figures, but a few thousand pounds, I think.
MS FILKIN: When you say "a few thousand pounds"
MR SACKVILLE: Well, between 2 and 5, I should think.
MS FILKIN: Yes.
MR SACKVILLE: Mr Auchi, he liked to have all these
people on his payroll.
MS FILKIN: Do you know anything about the offer of
the directorship to Mr Vaz?
MR SACKVILLE: No, I do not know anything about a
directorship at all, strangely enough. That is new to me. I wonder
if it came a bit later.
MS FILKIN: That is in the public domain, it is in
MR SACKVILLE: But post September '98?
MS FILKIN: Well it is difficult to see. It is certainly
in the '98 Annual Report, but that may be a mistake.
MR SACKVILLE: No, but surely whatever that form is
that is filed at Companies House, the appointment as directordid
that not go in? It did. Right, you have got that, so you know
what date they filed his directorship. You can be sure he was
paid then, when he became a directornot very much, but
he would have been paidbut the payment I am talking about,
was for some front organisation, he may well have earned that,
because it may have been that any sponsorship that came in went
straight to him, it is possible.
MS FILKIN: Would you know of anyone else in the company
at that time, or who worked in the company at that time and has
now left, who could confirm that?
MR SACKVILLE: This is why I wanted to talk to you,
because most of those people are very junior people who would
have been terrified.
MS FILKIN: You do not know of anybody who has left
who would feel more comfortable?
MR SACKVILLE: Gerry Malone would probably know. Did
you talk to him?
MS FILKIN: No, not yet.
MR SACKVILLE: He is now chief of his pharmaceutical
company. He might know something about that. I mean, your best
bet would be just to summons Auchi to tell you. I do not know,
perhaps you have done that, been there, because you have powers
to summons these people?
MS FILKIN: Yes, the Committee does.
MR SACKVILLE: So your best bet would be to do just
that. He will not thank you very much, but he is an British resident,
possibly a British citizen.
MS FILKIN: Yes.
MR SACKVILLE: Yes, so he would have to appear, and
it is rather uncomfortable, but he would have then to produce
papers, I would have thought, which showed what was happening
in fact. That is what I wanted to tell you, that your only way
into this is to ask Mr Auchi on the record, because everyone else
will be too scared.
MS FILKIN: Yes, I understand.
MR SACKVILLE: But he is somebody who does always
do things round the back. He has the kind of street-trader mentality,
quite a nice family man, and will not hire a proper staff. That
is the problem.
MS FILKIN: Do you know of any other benefits that
he provided Mr Vaz, other than this money?
MR SACKVILLE: He would have invited him to various
events, plenty of occasions, huge dinners at the Hilton. No, you
see I do not have anything beyond that mention of some sort of
a newspaper. But you will have to ask him, you will have to ask
Auchi to disclose all of that. He will have to come and tell you.
He is quite keen on being British, because of all his problems
with the French, and he will want to keep in, want to be helpful.
I should not think he had much time for Vaz, or for the other
fellow, Galloway. You must be shocked by all these people, this
crowd. Anyway, that is really all I can tell you, that that is
what I was aware of, and I just do not think you will get anyone
else saying much.
MS FILKIN: Yes, well if you do think of anybody who
it might be sensible for me to have a conversation with, I would
be grateful if you would let me know.
MR SACKVILLE: Yes. There is this one chap that would
know a lot. He lived up in Barnet, that is all I remember.
MS FILKIN: You would not have access to his name
MR SACKVILLE: Well I can sort of poke around and
find out who he was.
MS FILKIN: If you could, I would be very grateful.
MR SACKVILLE: If I find something, I shall tell you.
I do think he might feel like saying something on the record or
offbecause you do both, do you not?
MS FILKIN: Yes. I cannot use it if people say it
is off the record, and therefore it is not necessarily of any
use to me, but it is helpful to me to have a picture.
MR SACKVILLE: Yes. So you really are interested in
monies paid as directorships or fees for a certain period?
MS FILKIN: Yes, it is about what responsibility Mr
Vaz has to Parliament. It is not a criticism actually of Mr Auchiwhat
Mr Auchi does with his money is his affair, it is nothing to do
with mebut it is about whether Mr Vaz fulfilled the obligation
that he has got to Parliament. If he was receiving money for any
purpose, to run a newspaper or whatevernot necessarily
saying there is anything wrong with running a newspaperhe
should have put it in the Register of Members' Interests.
MR SACKVILLE: That newspaper, that would have been
a sort of semi ----- I tell you what it has to be. It was advertisements,
that is right. General Mediterranean, or one of the companies,
possibly Tucan Investments which you may have come across also,
used to take ads.
MS FILKIN: And this was not to support Mr Vaz's calendar?
MR SACKVILLE: You see, I do not know what the publication
MS FILKIN: Yes. Well there is a calendar that did
have advertisements. Obviously some payments were paying for those
MR SACKVILLE: Yes, it is quite possible, quite possible.
MS FILKIN: But you do not know?
MR SACKVILLE: They were more like, if I remember,
a newsletter or a newspaper than a calendar, a single sheet.
MS FILKIN: Yes. Okay.
MR SACKVILLE: Okay, well I will try and think of
MS FILKIN: If you would. I am very grateful to you
for coming, it is very good of you.
MR SACKVILLE: I am intrigued to meet you, because
I greatly admire your efforts to tie these people down, of whatever
MS FILKIN: Thank you.
Signed as correct by Mr Tom Sackville on 23 November