Operation Ribble Closes :When Will Levy Be Charged?

The CPS got the final tranche of the Operation Ribble files on Friday.* The Met let the press know in no uncertain terms that they expected charges against the Sleaze Master General himself, Ruth Turner and Sir Chris Evans. If Powell faces charges too, it will be a devastating denouement to the Blair era. Blair himself is widely expected to escape without being charged, the documentary evidence being too weak.

The CPS could make a decision as soon as June, at a time when many expect the Blair-Brown handover to be in process. Guido has long believed that the police would not be fazed by dealing with powerful political figures, that Levy would inevitably face charges and is now convinced that senior figures at the CPS will not find it possible to sweep things under the carpet. Lord Goldsmith may not even be in office when the decision to prosecute is made, it could well be a Brown appointee. If Brown’s Attorney General were to block charges the prospect of a private prosecution being brought remains. Soundings have already been taken by interested parties at the Inner Temple about this possibility.

If the Attorney General were to then enter a plea of nolle prosequi, claiming it would not be in the public interest to put Blair’s lieutenants on trial, Brown’s administration would forever be tainted with covering up his predecessor’s corruption. Something Brown is unlikely to countenance.

One way or another, this is going to go all the way.

*Guido was at the time supping champagne at Pascal Aussignac’s Club Gascon.

No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

The Commons Standards and Privileges Committee today told Dave he had been “ill-advised” to link funding to access to his office. Guido has been told that the modus operandi for the “Leaders Group” was to have proven donors over for PMQs on a Wednesday, have them watch the show and then give them lunch and a few drinks to loosen their wallets. Dave would do a bit of glad handing and not be around if and when they were directly hit up for dosh.
Cameron got a rap on the knuckles and had to grovel “unreserved apologies for inadvertently contravening the code of conduct in respect of the use of his parliamentary offices” and promise to be a good boy in future. Quite right.

Much as Guido hates to add to his troubles given his current mental state, Sleazy Levy had a very similar routine, although a little more direct. If he smelt money off you at a social or party event, he would invite you to visit him at the Lords and hit you up for dosh there. Perhaps, given the circumstances, we should skip the rap on the knuckles from the parliamentary authorities option. He has enough to worry about as it is…

Levy On the Edge

It was a year ago that Guido said Levy would be charged (and started taking bets) it has taken the press and the Lobby a long time to fully come around to Guido’s way of thinking.

The Indy reckons Levy ‘feels let down and is about to turn on the Labour Party, the Sunday Times says Blair aides ‘plotted’ to foil police.

If (as is widely believed around Westminster) McTernan has grassed about the alleged cover-up, then Powell, previously perceived as too clever to get caught, could also be in trouble and dodgy donor Chris Evans can expect his day in court as well.

Here is Guido’s advice to Levy…

Sleazy Levy Complains of "Trial by Media"

Levy’s lawyers have just released a statement complaining, wait for it, of “trial by media”.

Well perhaps he should stop ringing up political editors and briefing them in that case? All those unnamed “friends” quoted in the press are him, briefing…

UPDATE : 13:30 The Metropolitan Police have released a statement effectively accusing the Guardian of undermining their case.

UPDATE : 14:00 “There has been a regular stream of leaks to the media during this year-long investigation, all of which have presented a prejudiced and distorted view” say Levy’s lawyers. Of course Lord Levy’s off-the-record briefings to journalists are not prejudiced or distorted in the slightest.

Cui Bono: Is Downing Street the Leak Source?

Guido is very wary as we enter the closing straights of the investigation. Downing Street is in serious trouble and the only defence advanced so far is that the peerage nominations were for “party peerages”. That is a non-existent class of honour and the admission in itself was effectively a confession, not a defence.

The BBC appears to be in a position to stand up the story going around in mid-January about a “Smoking Gun” email. Why else would the police want to injunct the story unless it was correct and revealing? The question is, who passed the email to the Beeb and what is their motive?

Fact : the BBC does not do cheque-book journalism.
Fact : Yates’ team are, whatever the spin from Downing Street apologists, very tight-lipped.

When news of arrests and interviews has come out, it has more often than not been from the politicians themselves. Given that the Beeb didn’t buy this story, who profits from revealing crucial police evidence? Not the investigators, which is why the police sought to suppress the story, because defence lawyers could make much mischief, and probably will, with the “trial by media” line.

To quote the most famous detective of all, “If you eliminate the impossible, whatever is left, even if improbable, must be true.” Those under investigation, now that they believe it no longer possible to “fix” the CPS because of the evidence known to have been discovered, have the most to benefit from bringing the evidence into the public domain. The desperadoes of Downing Street would not be above leaking against themselves, tactically it would also allow them to portray themselves as victims of media savvy police investigators. They already brief that the police are “theatrical” and whine that they are unable to publicly defend themselves from the “trial by media”.

These are dangerous times for Downing Street’s toughest street fighters. The gloves are definitely off, which is why Guido thinks this leak has Downing Street’s fingerprints on it.

++ INJUNCTION ++

Contrary to rumour, Guido has not been injuncted. He has been on the piss.

The email is news to the BBC, not readers of this blog.

Sleazy Levy Shaky

Reports are reaching Guido from different directions as to the increasingly erratic personal behaviour of the man at the centre of the Loans for Lordships scandal.

Well the mental pressure must be immense, what will his defence be? Guido fears it may all get too much for him in the way that it did for Ernie Saunders. Whatever happened to Ernie?

Funny Turner

Variations on these are going round Westminster:

Q. What do you have to be get off Loans-for-Lordship’s charges?
A. Ruthless.

Q. What do you call Labour Party HQ without Loans-for-Lordships?
A. Roofless.

Levy isn’t laughing…

McTernan Grassed

According to the News of the World, Downing Street’s Director of Political Operations, John McTernan, has grassed on Ruth Turner, Lord Levy, Tony Blair and his chief of staff Jonathan Powell. The Screws’ story is a tale of

[…]

Let’s Do the Perp Walk Again!

Levy really should have taken Guido’s advice when he had the chance, shouldn’t he?

This is not the end, but it is the beginning of the end…

Can’t wait for the PMOS’ explanation tomorrow. “There is no Lord Levy in

[…]

Fancy a Bet Fraser?

In this week’s Speccie Fraser Nelson has a breathless piece on the Tory fundraising bonanza which includes, as an aside, the news that

“the once-formidable Blair-Levy double-act has been closed by the Metropolitan Police’s investigation, soon to be handed to

[…]

A Story That Got filed Under Crazy

A co-conspirator has re-sent an email Guido ignored in September. With Guido’s seasoned nose for a story it was, errm, disbelieved. Doh!

The Blair Foundation is going to be TB’s main post-No. 10 vehicle for self-publicity 21st century. Think Clinton

[…]



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Quote of the Day

Adam Spiegel, producer of Nazi themed “The Producers” musical says…

“Margate seemed a perfect place to start the promotion. I’m disappointed but not entirely surprised to see that UKIP are trying to hitch a publicity ride on the back of the show.”

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