Friday, June 4, 1999 Published at 22:24 GMT 23:24 UK
Aitken's possessions up for sale
Jonathan Aitken's career has been in freefall since his libel suit collapsed
Possessions seized by bailiffs from the home of bankrupt former Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken are to go up for sale to clear some of his debts.
Aitken, 56, faces a possible jail sentence next week after admitting perjury and perverting the course of justice during his failed libel case in 1997 against The Guardian and Granada television.
The ex-millionaire declared himself bankrupt last month and owes £2.4m in legal costs.
Aitken's Rolex Oyster watch, estimated to be worth about £3,000, is one of the items going under the hammer at Gorringes Auctioneers in Lewes, East Sussex.
A pair of 18 carat white gold diamond and gem set cuff links is also on the list.
Gorringes is advertising the sale by tender "on instruction received by the Trustee in Bankruptcy of J W P Aitken".
The goods are believed to have been confiscated by bailiffs from Aitken's Westminster home on Wednesday.
Auctioneer Nicholas Muston said: "The sale is totally confidential. There is no way we can give anybody any guidance over figures because it is a secret, sealed bid."
He told the London Evening Standard: "A sealed bid auction is very unusual and this one is very much based on the speed element."
Mr Muston said usual procedures would have taken too long.
The tender closing date is 11 June and the result will be announced the following day after all the bids have been opened.
Aitken said last month he had been forced into bankruptcy because The Guardian and Granada had refused to accept a cash settlement of his outstanding £1.2m legal bill.
Hugo Young, chairman of the Scott Trust, owners of the Guardian Media Group, said Aitken had made an informal approach to try and resolve the situation.
Mr Young said: "The offer of £840,000 which Aitken finally made, to be shared between the two main creditors, The Guardian and Granada TV, was an unsecured sum made up partially of an estimated £200,000 from any future literary earnings."
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