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Battle over pounds 5m bill for Rowland

THE struggle for control of the Lonrho trading conglomerate took another turn yesterday following reports that Roland 'Tiny' Rowland, its 76-year-old joint chief executive, is costing shareholders more than pounds 5m a year in salary and expenses.

Mr Rowland is expected to come under intense pressure at a board meeting tomorrow from allies of Dieter Bock, the German property tycoon, who holds an 18.8 per cent stake. He became joint chief executive early last year.

The Bock camp is understood to be extremely concerned about Mr Rowland's expenses. These are said to include a contribution of about pounds 500,000 to the costs of his home in Belgravia, central London, and a mansion near Clivedon, Buckinghamshire. Also understood to be involved are more than pounds 1m in business expenses and pounds 200,000 to pay for the education of dependants of African politicians and Mr Rowland's business contacts.

At the board meeting, Mr Rowland will also face criticism about his sale of a film financed by Lonrho about the Lockerbie bombing to an Egyptian company with Libyan connections. Directors think the sale may breach United Nations restrictions over Libya.