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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 February 2008, 20:30 GMT
Mayor 'aware of finance problems'
Ken Livingstone
The Mayor previously denied that any group faced financial problems
London's mayor knew there were financial problems with some community projects before he publicly denied it, it has been revealed.

London Development Agency (LDA) chairman Manny Lewis said he told Ken Livingstone there were "discrepancies" in some of the projects' accounts.

The mayor subsequently stated publicly that all finances could be accounted for, a London Assembly meeting heard.

The mayor said on Thursday that he had not been fully briefed at that time.

Fraud allegations

Six projects funded by the LDA - the mayor's business arm - are being investigated by police over allegations of fraud.

They include south London youth project Brixton Base.

When asked about its funding in December, Mr Livingstone said: "We have a complete audit trail of all these organisations."

However on Thursday he told the London Assembly: "I had at that stage had no specific briefing about any one grant."

He added: "What I had seen was the banner headlines in the Evening Standard suggesting my staff were involved in fraud. I was 100% certain that wasn't true."

Lee Jasper
Lee Jasper is an adviser to the mayor and a patron of Brixton Base

The role of the mayor's chief race adviser Lee Jasper in the distribution of grants was also questioned at the City Hall meeting on Thursday.

London Assembly members expressed concern that Mr Jasper was both an adviser to the mayor and a patron of Brixton Base, roles which could potentially create a conflict of interest.

Anthony Mayer, chief executive of the Greater London Authority (GLA), said: "Mr Jasper was acting in two capacities, as patron and as the mayor's adviser.

"I do not think there was sufficient clarity as to these two different capacities."

Mr Livingstone accepted that the role of advisers must be clarified, and that new rules were needed to prevent conflicts of interest.

The LDA also pledged to begin a review of many other projects it has funded.

Last month an internal LDA review cleared Mr Jasper of any wrong-doing.

SEE ALSO
Mayor's aide in funding dispute
05 Dec 07 |  London

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