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EDITIONS
Thursday, 5 December, 2002, 13:25 GMT
Cherie Blair statement in full
Here is the full text of Cherie Blair's statement on her dealings with convicted fraudster Peter Foster:
"In the summer, as our eldest son was going to Bristol University I decided to purchase a property there.

Through a family friend, I was told of a particular complex of flats.

In early October I entered into detailed correspondence on this with a friend and through her with the property agents.

On the basis of those discussions I decided it was a suitable potential purchase.

It was during these initial discussions that the asking price for the property was reduced from 295,000 to 269,000.

'Unaware of Foster's past'

For reasons of avoiding publicity and because of work commitments I asked a friend, Carole Caplin to look at the property for me.

She visited the property in late October with her boyfriend Peter Foster. I had, at that point, never met Mr Foster or spoken to him and was unaware of the details of his past which has since become public.


This transaction was properly carried out.

Clearly had I been aware I would have been far more circumspect in my response to what appeared to be straight forwardly friendly offers of assistance from the boyfriend of a friend and it is correct that for a couple of weeks of the negotiations in late October and early November he helped me by talking to the property agents, making suggestions to me about the best price to secure and corresponding with me by e-mail.

He was not my financial adviser. My financial adviser was and is Martin Kaye of BDO Stoy Hayward.

'No payments'

Mr Foster neither asked for nor received remuneration. As far as I was concerned he was simply the boyfriend of a friend who was helping me out when I was busy.

I visited the flat myself on 29 October. The deal was concluded by my adviser and my lawyer and the sale completed last Friday.

I do not intend to publish the thick file of correspondence on this sale. I see no reason why I should.

But it shows that the vast bulk of it does not involve Mr Foster at all. I have only met him once by chance when we had a brief conversation.

When all the allegations were first put I made clear that he was not my adviser. That was and is accurate.

Protecting privacy

If in not wanting to put into the public domain any and every detail of what I believe to be private issues I have caused any misunderstanding between the Number 10 press office and the media that is unfortunate and I regret that.

But this transaction was properly carried out. The allegations we were asked to respond to were false and I believe that in our private dealings, particularly over issues to do with our children's living arrangements, we should not be expected to put every detail into the public domain.

As has been stated before Mr Foster has never met or spoken to my husband nor is it true as has been claimed that he met my son when visiting the property.

I hope that any reasonable person, on reading this, will accept that I have done nothing improper, that this transaction was properly carried out and that I am only having to put all this into the public domain because of a series of false allegations which suggest otherwise."



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