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Monday, 16 December, 2002, 20:43 GMT
Peter Foster's statement in full
Key extracts from Peter Foster's statement about the furore surrounding his links to Cherie Blair.
I have been the subject over the last few weeks of the most extraordinary character assassination.
It has indeed been, as others have said, a media frenzy. I have decided to make a final statement in the interests of truth and clarity.
As everyone knows the whole story arose because of my relationship with Carole, and in turn her - continuing - extremely close friendship with the Blairs.
I met Carole by chance on July 8th and was smitten. The very idea that this was part of a sinister plot by me to target the prime minister and his family is risible.
The reasons that any man would become attracted to Carole are obvious.
It was nearly three months into our relationship when Carole invited me to travel to Bristol to view a flat for Cherie's son Euan.
Because of my business background I was asked to become involved in a number of aspects of the subsequent deal.
Yes, I managed a £69,000 discount - This was nothing to do with using the Blair name or working an angle - it was about the art of negotiation.
This is all well documented. As far as I was concerned I was simply a friend helping a friend.
I did not seek anything in return, although I remain appreciative of the later, innocent advice given to me, by Cherie.
At no time did she seek to interfere with the legal processes, nor did I ask her to.
Cherie simply passed on to me a professional view of where I stood on the case. The notion I was attempting some elaborate sting on the Blairs is laughable. As everybody around me knows I had many opportunities and invitations to meet Tony and Cherie.
I consistently turned them down aware my background could cause embarrassment. I was told I was being 'paranoid' about my past and that I should move on.
It seems my instincts were right. I only met Cherie once and as she said that was by chance.
We spoke on the phone three times and corresponded by email.
On November 27th I received an email from Paul Walsh, a fellow shareholder in a company called Renuelle.
He was demanding £75,000 or, he threatened, he would reveal that I had been party to the flat negotiations. With my record, he said this would hurt the prime minister.
We immediately told Downing Street of this threat. This email also made claims I had been boasting about the Blair relationship. I had not.
Any information in connection with the flat negotiations that Paul Walsh obtained was I believe from my driver who coincidentally is Paul Walsh's father in law.
It was also Paul Walsh who went to the media. His actions are now subject of a police investigation following a complaint by me.
When this story broke in the media I was painted as a liar, evil, wicked - and a fantasist.
I believe that the version of events which later unfolded in the media shows that I am neither a liar nor a fantasist. I equally take issue with the description of me as evil and wicked.
For those who are interested: I say again. No one has ever lost money through my enterprises.
As I have always said, my life has not been perfect, I have made mistakes and paid the price for that. I know I am a flawed man, but I do not believe, in my heart I am a bad man.
However, I might think so were I to believe some of the media fantasies.
Over the last few weeks papers have reported:
I could go on, but none of these things is true.
But I had no chance to challenge these lies. Where did they come from?
Could it be I had to be discredited by the establishment?
Love for Caplin
Today, I call on the Sun newspaper to let my lawyers have the full, unedited version of the illegally recorded telephone conversations between myself and my mother from which they recently printed selected excerpts.
Everything in life is about context. What now?
I'm still nuts about Carole, and I want to say how much I respect her for standing by me and believing in me, and the same goes for my family.
Carole is a great friend of, and influence on, everyone who knows her.
The way she has been described through all this has hurt me a lot. I will always love her.
I apologise to Tony and Cherie for the mess a little help from your friends can get you in to.
I know that intentions on both sides were always honourable. Finally wherever I end up I shall need a bit of peace and quiet to add the final chapters to the autobiography I began writing a year ago.
It's eventual publication will enable those who are interested to read a rounder version of events from, perhaps, a slightly cooler perspective than is possible at the moment.
Neither Carole nor I will be making any further statements and we ask now to
be left alone.
16 Dec 02 | Politics
13 Dec 02 | Politics
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