Bunhill: Obsession

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The Independent Online
MEMO to Ernest Saunders, Lord Spens and any others who feel they are the victim of official excess: study the example of Jose Maria Ruiz-Matoes.

Ten years ago, Ruiz-Matoes was president of Rumasa, the Spanish conglomerate. Rumasa was in trouble, and before it collapsed, it was nationalised by the government at a cost of pounds 4bn. Unfair, claimed Ruiz-Matoes then and ever since. His campaign to prove officials over-reacted has included dressing up as Superman to get his message across.

Last week, though, he rose to new heights of publicity seeking. To mark the 10th anniversary of Rumasa's expropriation, he has rented a house directly opposite the residence of Felipe Gonzalez, the Spanish prime minister. Ruiz-Matoes arrived in an ambulance bearing the logo 'Gonzalez' on the side.

Outside the house were signs declaring it to be a study centre for political and financial scandals. Inside, he displayed a powerful telescope, with which he will monitor the movements of his important neighbour. His aim, he says, is to force the prime minister to move away or to admit the government's mistake.

It is enough to make John Major feel glad of Norman Lamont's benign presence.