BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK Politics
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Interviews 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Wednesday, 31 May, 2000, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Probe into Aitken 'secret account'

Aitken owes money from his failed libel trial
Investigations have begun into claims that bankrupt former cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken has secreted 2.7m in a Swiss bank account.

Aitken's creditors, including The Guardian newspaper and Granada TV, are owed more than 3m in legal costs following the collapse of Aitken's libel action against them.

Accountants Baker Tilly confirmed on Wednesday that they were looking into reports of a secret account at Credit Suisse bank, in Lausanne.

Aitken's office has described the claims, which appeared in The Guardian, as "untrue".

His creditors are currently considering an offer of 1.7m as settlement of the liabilities.



Family heirlooms were sold to clear debts
Aitken was jailed for 18 months in June 1999 for perjury and perverting the course of justice during his failed libel action.

He was released on 7 January this year.

Louise Brittan, of Baker Tilly, who is leading the Aitken investigation, said: "We will investigate (the claims), but I am unable to give any details of our investigation.

"As a general rule, you would have to have quite a substantial amount of evidence before you could go to Switzerland and ask for a freezing order."

Mr Aitken resigned as chief secretary to the treasury in April 1995 to fight the libel action after saying he would take on the "cancer of bent and twisted journalism".

He called the case "a crusade for truth".

But he dropped it in June 1997 after The Guardian produced new evidence concerning his contention, in court, that his wife Lolicia had paid a bill for a stay at the Ritz Hotel in Paris on a visit to the French capital with their daughter.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

08 Jun 99 | UK Politics
Aitken: A glittering career cut short
08 Jun 99 | UK Politics
Aitken's downfall complete
04 Jun 99 | UK Politics
Aitken's possessions up for sale
10 May 99 | UK
Aitken declared bankrupt
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK Politics stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK Politics stories