Capel staff approached in Anglia shares inquiry


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
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Reach Volunteering: Trustees with Finance, Fundraising and IT skills

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses reimbursable: Reach Volunteering: St...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent