BBC airs Ashcroft documentary

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The BBC has aired its Panorama investigation into the financial affairs of the Conservative donor Lord Ashcroft, two weeks after removing it from its schedule at the eleventh hour.

The programme had been postponed following legal objections and information provided by the peer in the final hours before broadcast.

A revised version, examining his controversial business dealings in two Caribbean tax havens, aired on BBC1 last night.

Reporters visited both Belize and Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), where Lord Ashcroft operates a bank, and interviewed local politicians and subcontractors.

It examined a telecoms business in Belize and a luxury marina development in the TCI and alleged links with the peer. Lord Ashcroft’s representatives declined to comment on the programme last night, but were quoted by the BBC denying any impropriety.

The programme has been a year in the making and had first been pencilled in for broadcast during the general election.