Fellow directors 'lied to court to save skins'

The Maxwell Trial: Day 101

NIC CICUTTI

Kevin Maxwell yesterday accused several fellow directors in his father's media empire of lying to an Old Bailey court about what happened after his death in order to save their own skins.

Others, such as the former pension fund administrator Trevor Cook, had written "cover-up" memos about pension fund assets, the jury was told.

Some of those memos were supposed to have been sent to him but, in fact, he did not read them until after his arrest by the Serious Fraud Office, Kevin claimed.

For Mr Cook to suggest in November 1991 that he did not know Teva Pharmaceutical shares had been involved in a stock-lending programme with the bankers, Lehman Brothers, was "rubbish".

Another who had lied was Peter Laister, who became deputy chairman of Maxwell Communication Corporation in November 1991, Kevin alleged. "I don't think he was happy that I had been appointed chairman in his absence," he said. "But he had said he would help to the best of his ability and, like all the other directors, had pledged his support and encouragement."

Kevin said it was true that the two of them fell out over the conduct of the business. Mr Laister had tried to get him fired in November 1991 and succeeded in doing so the following month.

Kevin, who was concluding his fourth week in the witness box, assured the court: "At no time did I mislead Mr Laister."

While he was chairman of MCC none of his fellow directors ever suggested that his actions had made him guilty of wrongful trading in the civil sense or guilty of fraudulent trading in the criminal sense, he added.

When Alan Suckling QC, for the prosecution, asked if he was asserting that Mr Cook and the others were trying to save their own skins, Kevin replied: "Yes. It is an understandable human trait."

Mr Suckling asked: "Surely that is what you are trying to do: save your own skin?"

Kevin: "I think you are entering into the Lissack [Richard Lissack QC, who is co-prosecutor] school of questioning, in that if you don't get the answer you like you smear somebody else."

Re-examined by his defence barrister, Alun Jones QC, he told the court that he still believed the Maxwell group should never have collapsed. Throughout the months leading up to his father's death in November 1991, everything he did was coloured by the knowledge that although the group had debts of perhaps pounds 2bn, its asset worth exceeded pounds 3bn.

But he admitted that there were tremendous pressures because of liquidity problems and intense frustration at not being able to sit down and match inflows from asset realisations with debt outflows.

This was because of his father's insistence on spending millions of pounds attempting to stop the decline in the value of shares in Maxwell Communication Corporation.

"Looking back over the year, nothing has dimmed that frustration," Kevin said. "This was a group that didn't need to collapse."

Kevin, his brother Ian Maxwell and Larry Trachtenberg, a former Maxwell aide, deny conspiracy to defraud the pension fund.

The trial resumes on Monday.

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

Recruitment Genius: Financial Adviser

£20000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you recently QCA Level 4 qu...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

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

Guru Careers: Application Support Analyst / 1st Line Support

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Application Support Analyst / 1st L...

Guru Careers: .NET Developer / Web Developer

£45K - £55K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a full stack .NET D...

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