Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Thursday, March 11, 1999 Published at 12:31 GMT


UK

Maxwell cleared over Mirror inquiry

Kevin Maxwell says he could not afford legal representation

Kevin Maxwell has been cleared of contempt of court in connection with an inquiry into the financial affairs of the Mirror Group.

Mr Maxwell, the elder son of late media tycoon Robert Maxwell, was cleared over his refusal to submit to interrogation by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) inspectors.


BBC correspondent Jonty Bloom: "Kevin Maxwell refused to co-operate"
A High Court judge said the potential burden that questioning might place on Mr Maxwell - who could not afford legal representation - could be unfair.

It was "at risk of going beyond that which an unrepresented individual can reasonably be required to accept", Vice-Chancellor Sir Richard Scott said.

The DTI inspectors should keep their questions to a minimum and tell Mr Maxwell in advance what they wanted to ask him about, Sir Richard said.

If this was done, Mr Maxwell would have no further excuse for refusing to answer, he added.

Maxwell 'disadvantaged'

The questions were focusing on the £500m flotation of the company eight years ago - a matter which, at a hearing last month, Mr Maxwell described as "of unique complexity".


[ image: The inquiry followed the death of Robert Maxwell in 1991]
The inquiry followed the death of Robert Maxwell in 1991
The two inspectors began their inquiry in June 1992, following the death of Mirror Group owner Maxwell in 1991.

The inquiry was halted while Kevin Maxwell and others stood trial on charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office over his father's business dealings, but resumed after Mr Maxwell was acquitted on all counts in 1996.

The inspectors have now heard 171 witnesses in person and received written evidence from 105 others.

They want to question Mr Maxwell, but he sees himself as seriously disadvantaged if he is not legally represented.

Inquiry 'unfair'

The inquiry could lead to further criminal charges and moves to disqualify him from holding company directorships, he said.

Mr Maxwell, 39, who now works in telecommunications, said after the ruling the judge had come down firmly in favour of his argument that he was being treated oppressively and unfairly.

"Unless they change their procedures, there is no obligation on me to answer questions," he said. "I have always said I would answer if they created a set of fair procedures and a fair regime.

"Now the court has decided to protect me as an individual. It's a victory for common sense and it's what I wanted in the first place."

Mr Maxwell added that he had borrowed £15,000 to obtain a solicitor's advice so he could conduct his own defence in court, and he would be seeking to recover those costs from the DTI.





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England

Relevant Stories

02 Feb 99 | The Company File
Record fine for Maxwell accountants

21 Jan 99 | The Company File
Mirror rejects takeover bid





Internet Links


Department of Trade and Industry

The Mirror Online


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online