Liam Fox: New claim casts doubt on MoD denial


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The Independent Online

Adam Werritty, a self-styled adviser and former flatmate of Liam Fox arranged a meeting with the Defence Secretary for a company interested in selling technology to the Ministry of Defence, i has been told.

The meeting, which took place in a Dubai hotel without any officials present, apparently centred around voice encryption technology which the company, the Porton Group, was interested in demonstrating to the MoD.

The alleged subject of the meeting suggests that Mr Werritty, who was Mr Fox's best man, was able to arrange access to the minister for private companies on matters directly relating to official Government business. It also seems to contradict statements by the Ministry of Defence which suggested Mr Werritty had never been involved in official MoD business. "Mr Werritty's meetings with the Secretary of State have concerned entirely private matters, not to discuss MoD business," they said.

Under the terms of the Ministerial Code, "ministers must ensure that no conflict arises, or could reasonably be perceived to arise, between their public duties and their private interests."

Harvey Boulter, chief exectutive officer of the Porton Group, told i he had retained the services of a lobbying firm for media advice as part of a legal dispute his company was involved in which indirectly involved the MoD.

The firm, Tetra Strategy, put him in contact with Mr Werritty – described as an adviser to Mr Fox – to see if it might be possible to arrange a meeting with Mr Fox to discuss the case.

At that meeting, in April, Mr Boulter says he also raised a voice encryption technology product which one of his companies had developed and was interested in selling to the MoD. He suggested to Mr Werritty he might like to show the technology directly to Mr Fox.

"Mr Werritty agreed that Cellcrypt was interesting. He came back in June and I met him again and he said I will organise a meeting with the boss."

That meeting, according to Mr Boulter, took place in June at the Shangri-La Hotel in Dubai where Mr Fox was staying on official business. It included three representatives from Porton as well as Mr Fox and Mr Werritty. Mr Boulter said 90 per cent of the meeting was about the Cellcrypt voice encryption technology.

Asked what he thought Mr Werritty's role was, Mr Boulter said: "I 100 per cent thought that he was an adviser to Mr Fox. He produced this card the first time I met him which said he was an adviser to the Rt Hon Dr Fox. I was very surprised when I learnt that he didn't have security clearance.

Tetra Strategy confirmed that it had put Mr Boulter in contract with Mr Werritty but had no further involvement with either party.

The MoD declined to comment.