Friday, October 14, 2011

The Emerging Accounts Mystery

The Times allegations against Adam Werritty and his funders are so explosive because they are so detailed. Not only do they have the £147,000 coming in, but they also have the breakdown of account spending across the world which would imply the paper has seen all of the bank details. Clues to who might have leaked those are littered throughout the story:

“Oliver Hylton, a charity adviser to the head of CQS, a multibillion-pound hedge fund, befriended Mr Werritty through mutual Tory contacts. He became a director of Security Futures, the now defunct defence and energy consultancy that was also established by Mr Werritty, and agreed to become the sole director of Pargav in June last year — a move he acknowledged was “naive”. He came into my office and said I want to set up a new company. It sounds ridiculously naive in hindsight, but I agreed. I signed the documents and nothing more,” Mr Hylton said.”

As Guido reported yesterday CQS have bought in the spinners in order to handle this story and a quick glance over the list of other donors does not point to anyone who would have had the same access to the books. Given that he had a desk there, Werritty would have been in and out of the CQS offices, but it’s the “naive” Mr Hylton who, as the sole director, would have had to sign off said accounts…

UPDATE: Since publishing this post Guido has more and more reason to believe in a collusion between CQS/Hintze/Bell and this Times story. The other explanation is someone blagged the bank accounts of course. Lots of private spooks about…

UPDATE II: Oliver Hylton has been suspended suggesting he was the source of the leak.

The Detail That The Guardian Left Out Last Week

As the Fox saga rumbles on, this morning’s front-pages will be the most difficult for the Defence Secretary to face since Monday. The money trail is unravelling a rapid pace. However, it was a small detail in the Guardian story about the stag night of Fox’s official adviser Luke Coffey, that has got chins wagging. They claim that Fox extended his stop-over in Dubai on the way back from the front for “a boozy affair; they were drinking huge cocktails and they caused quite a stir.” Fox was not on leave at the time:

Fox arrived in Dubai on 17 June and immediately met Werritty. After their meeting with Dubai-based British businessman Harvey Boulter on the 41st floor of the Shangri-la hotel the pair are understood to have spent the rest of the day lounging by the pool and in Werritty’s hotel room.

There was a lot of speculation that the Guardian were leaving certain details out of their reporting last week in the expectation that they could get Fox regardless. As he digs in, it seems those concerns have gone out of the window…

UPDATE: Though it’s behind the The Times paywall, the most damning revelation today is the fact that one of the donors to Air Miles Adam was a private intelligence firm. Werritty’s non-profit Pargrav is under intense scrutiny:

“Details of Pargav’s accounts, seen by The Times, show that G3 Good Governance Group, a strategic advisory company, Tamares Real Estate, an investment company owned by Poju Zabludowicz, the chairman of BICOM — an organisation that lobbies the British Government on behalf of Israel — and Jon Moulton, a venture capitalist, were among more than six different entities that each paid up to £35,000 to Pargav since October last year”

Tricky…

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Michael Hintze: For Whom the Bell Spins

Flying in from China to face the growing music, Michael Hintze, the donor in the spotlight regarding Liam Fox’s shadow operation, is said to have hired Lord Bell to spin for him this morning. Hintze, the chairman of the hedge fund CQS, gave Adam Werritty a desk in his Grosvenor Place office and is one of his key benefactors. Given that the Sunday papers are crawling over anyone who has ever given Fox a penny, it seems Hintze is getting ready for a fight… 

UPDATE: It looks like they are keeping it cosy. Richard Alston the Non-Executive Director of Bells’s Chime Communications (which owns Bell Pottinger,) also sits on the international advisory board of CQS. Bell Pottinger also represent the Sri Lankan government and have worked closely with Liam Fox in the past.

Big Blow For Fox

The Heff, with a seemingly heavy heart, has called for Fox to go:

It is what we now know about what the two men did in the public eye that makes Dr Fox’s position so precarious.

If even some of us who are sympathetic to Dr Fox’s politics feel he now lacks the credibility to do his job, what must his opponents think?

At the moment, he is dying  by inches in public with each new revelation about his behaviour.

Heffer’s assertion comes on the back of another round of dodgy headlines for Defence Secretary. The news that private donors were running their own adviser for Fox in order to by-pass the Civil Service is only going to anger more people. Especially as there is no declaration of interest. Werritty looks set to be interviewed again today by Sue Gray, the Cabinet Office’s Director of Propriety and Ethics. You have to wonder how he will react to being compared to Walter Mitty…

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fox Trashes Werritty

Another key development in the fox-hunt from Joe Murphy at the Standard. He has got the text of “friends of Fox” attempting to trash his bestest friend Adam Werritty. Murphy stresses that he believes this is what Fox told GOD:

“It is clear that Werritty was masquerading as something he was not. He was hanging around and popping up in places, trying to be part of a group. This guy was clearly a Walter Mitty figure.

It’s fair to say that he [Fox] was naive about Adam Adam did arrive in certain places and took advantage of his friendship with Liam. It will be a very different friendship in future.”

If the government are calling you Walter Mitty, Guido doesn’t recommend you go for a walk in the woods any time soon…

Jobs for the Boys

Hats off to Political Scrapbook who have created the snazzy Liam Fox advisor business card creator:

Now you too can open doors around the world with no clearance or accountability…

Fox in Burglary Admission

Despite the fact that the investigation into his activities is now directly hindering his job as Defence Secretary, Liam Fox is still fighting. Instead of giving press conferences in Paris, he is up this morning with new tactics. His old campaign manager Chris Grayling was on the the Today program saying “I think we’ve got past the point in politics where we needed to worry about people’s private lives.” This is true unless those private and public lives are tangled and blurred in such a way as this.

Fox has clearly briefed Nick Robinson who pushes the victim of a hate campaign idea. The line of Werritty seems to be:

” …when Werritty handed out business cards claiming to be an adviser to Mr Fox that was pretty close to the truth. In government, just as he had in opposition, he wanted to talk to someone who thought like he did, who could ask the questions he would, who was on his side.”

No harm in that, but the problem for Fox is that this was being funded by Tory donors, off the books, with no accountability, no restraint and no one beside Fox have the faintest idea what this man was doing.

Elsewhere the side story is gaining traction. The Sun forced a statement out of Fox late last night after they revealed that Tory spinners had kept quiet that a “younger man”, not Werritty, was staying with Fox the night he was burgled in 2010. The Mail also questions why Fox was tail-ending his official trips with extra nights spent with Werritty:

Still no smoking gun, but Fox can’t be far off death from a thousand cuts. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Boulter Wades In Again: Werritty Loved First Class Travel

Harvey Boulter isn’t the most reliable of witnesses but he raises some intriguing points. He just did an interview with the BBC that could only be described as a hand-grenade. He described Fox’s version of events around their meeting in Dubai as “half truths”. He said Adam Werritty boasted of his love of first class travel…

Boulter also said he told the Guardian to go and “do their homework” when they told him Werritty wasn’t working for them. Given Boulter discussed sensitive information regarding his business and legal disputes, he is demanding to know who paid for Air Miles Adam, but stopped short of accusing him of outright corporate espionage. Petrol on the fire…

Fox and the £100,000 Question

Despite obvious security flaws, saucy innuendo and the potential of government work being done off the books, it’s the paper trail that will decide Fox’s fate. Joe Murphy over at the Standard has been crunching the numbers:

“I’ve done an analysis based on British Airways fares to the various destinations, which included Dubai five times, plus Hong Kong Washington and Singapore twice each.  Exact costs are impossible to determine because fares vary according to demand so I’m basing this on return flights taken this week. Flying in BA’s cheapest economy seats, the 18 trips would cost £25,000 in tickets.  However, if Mr Werritty went business class, his ticket expenses alone would have gone up to £77,146. Now let’s add in two nights stay each trip in a typical £200 a night business hotel, costing another £7,200. That would take the total travel cost to £85,000. But then there are all those dinners at the sort of costly restaurants where one might just bump into a millionaire private equity boss.  With such high subsistence costs, he could easily have spent over £100,000.”

Company House records show that Werritty, who is being interviewed as part of the Cabinet Office/MoD investigation today, has barely made a quarter of that sum through his various consultancy arms. So where did the money come from? Who paid Adam’s way? Until this is answered, this story will not go away…

Fox Trotting: A Meeting In Every Port

London, Israel, Bahrain, Switzerland, Hong Kong, DC, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Qatar, Spain and Florida.

Even Robinson was spluttering last night…


Seen Elsewhere

Yes Scotland’s Geo-Targeting Advertising Fail | MessageSpace
#IndyRef Twitter Map | Trendsmap
Westminster Has Patronised Scots | Scottish Sun
What Happens in the Event of a Recount? | Breitbart
Yes Side Emphatically Won Campaign | Speccie
Joyce Thacker on Sick Leave | Doncaster Free Press
Claire Perry Slams ‘Goodies’ for Scots | Sun
Westminster Truce Shatters | Times
Boris: Prime Minister By Monday | James Ford
Tories Say Don’t Bribe the Scots | Times
Dave Can’t Stay if Scots Go | Laura Perrins


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