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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 June, 2004, 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK
Ex-royal valet 'sticks by claim'
Prince Charles
Prince Charles denied George Smith's allegations
An ex-royal valet who claimed he saw an incident involving Prince Charles has denied withdrawing the allegation.

George Smith was paid 60,000 by the Mail on Sunday for the story, which has been denied by the prince, last year.

The Sunday Telegraph now says Mr Smith has agreed to withdraw the allegation for the same sum. But Mr Smith told the PA news agency he denies this.

Clarence House said the saga raised important issues about the media and "chequebook journalism".

I stick by what I have always said. I told The Mail on Sunday what I witnessed and that is the truth
George Smith

In a statement to PA, Mr Smith admitted he was tempted by the cash offer to say that he had told lies because he was deeply in debt.

But, he says, he could not accept the money because "if I had said that it would not be true".

Credibility

"I stick by what I have always said. I told The Mail on Sunday what I witnessed and that is the truth," his statement added.

The Sunday Telegraph, however, reports that Mr Smith was "very interested" in signing an affidavit swearing that the allegation was untrue in exchange for a hypothetical 60,000.

The paper stresses that it would have never handed over the cash, but had "offered him the possibility of money purely in order to test his credibility as a witness".

According to the newspaper, the new version of the story would see Mr Smith saying he did not see the incident originally alleged.

The reason that he had made the claim originally, he is alleged to have said, is because he was angry with another royal servant, who he claims raped him.

An earlier police investigation into Mr Smith's rape claim found no evidence and no proceedings were brought

The Sunday Telegraph says the comments were recorded in "extensive" video and audio-taped conversations with reports made of the past 10 days.

Emergency injunction

Mr Smith says the newspaper "bought him drinks", made the recordings covertly and denies agreeing to an interview or signing any form of affidavit.

The former royal valet's original allegation about the prince was printed in the Mail on Sunday seven months ago.

But an emergency injunction by lawyers acting for Prince Charles's valet Michael Fawcett prevented it being published.

However, the story became public when it arose on internet sites.

A few days later, the Prince of Wales's private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, dismissed the claim as "risible", saying there was not a shred of evidence to support it.

The Mail on Sunday newspaper has denounced the Sunday Telegraph story.




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