Capel staff approached in Anglia shares inquiry

DAVID HELLIER

A number of current and former employees of James Capel, the City stockbroking firm, have been asked to give evidence to Department of Trade and Industry inspectors looking into allegations of insider dealing in the shares of Anglia television.

Witnesses are being warned that they risk criminal prosecution if they disclose what is deemed as "restrictive" information about the inquiry. Even the letters summoning them for interview may contain such "restrictive" information, witnesses are being warned.

The investigation, which initially focused on Lord Archer, the Tory peer, was reopened last May after fresh information emerged.

Inspectors are arranging to undertake a number of interviews this month and hope to move their inquiries forward swiftly.

The Inspectors were first appointed in February 1994 under section 177 of the Financial Services Act 1986. They submitted a report on their findings in July last year when the DTI decided to take no further action.

However the same two inspectors, Roger Kaye and Hugh Aldous, were re- appointed to the task in May this year by the then President of the Board of Trade, Michael Heseltine, after new information came to light.

The DTI's fresh inquiries are believed to include looking at the purchase of 10,000 shares in Anglia by Karen Morgan Thomas, a friend of Lord Archer's, in January 1994.

This purchase, which does not appear to have been looked into during the initial inquiry, resulted in Ms Morgan Thomas taking a profit of around pounds 22,000.

The latest inquiries are believed to include suggestions that Lord Archer and Ms Morgan Thomas were in regular contact at the time of the MAI bid for Anglia.

The two are said to have contacted each other at least five times during the relevant period. Such contact as there may have been does not of course indicate that Lord Archer and Ms Morgan Thomas ever discussed the takeover. Indeed earlier in the year, she said she had learned nothing from Lord Archer about the MAI takeover. She said that she had bought shares in Anglia after reading a tip in a Sunday newspaper.

However the inspectors are believed to be keen to discover as much as they can about the contact Ms Morgan Thomas had with Lord Archer, whose wife was a member of the Anglia board, prior to her decision to buy Anglia shares. Lord Archer has always denied that he ever discussed the takeover with his wife.

Ms Morgan Thomas placed an order for 10,000 shares in Anglia at 431p each on 4 January 1994 and Lord Archer placed orders for 50,000 shares in the name of a friend, Broosk Saib, on 13 January.

MAI first indicated to Anglia that it would be interested in making a bid in December 1993 and its interest was first discussed at a board meeting on 5 January. It was not until 18 January that the 637p-a-share bid was announced to the Stock Exchange. Lady Archer was then a non executive director of Anglia.

Ms Morgan Thomas is believed to have telephoned Lord Archer's office on 8 July - the day news broke of the earlier DTI investigation.

She is reported to have cancelled a dinner date with him for that evening, saying she did not want to go to his apartment and be photographed by the press.

Those invited this month to interviews at the London offices of the accountancy firm Robson Rhodes, where the DTI inspector Mr Aldous is senior partner, are believed to include Martin Latham and Tony Guarnori, who both work in James Capel's compliance department. The inspectors have also contacted Eileen McAndrew, Ms Morgan Thomas's former secretary.

Also believed to have been invited to an interview is Nigel Weller, the former managing director of Javelin, a broking subsidiary of James Capel. Ms Morgan Thomas was Javelin's chief executive at the time of her share dealings in Anglia. Mr Weller, through a solicitor, is reported to have supplied the DTI with information, although he was not interviewed during the earlier investigation.

The new inquiry is regarded as highly sensitive in Whitehall and the City. The DTI will make no official comment on the affair, sticking to the line that it does not confirm or deny whether such inquiries are taking place.

James Capel will make no official comment about the status of the investigation. Nor woulda spokeswoman comment on whether the firm possessed any tape recordings of potentially relevant telephone conversations.

Individual employees at the firm have been told they risk losing their jobs by talking about the inquiry outside their work-place.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Services - City, London

£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence