Goodman claims dirty tricks: Former Air Europe head says BA 'went to unbelievable lengths' to destroy his business

HARRY GOODMAN, former chairman of Air Europe and International Leisure Group, broke a three-year silence yesterday when he accused British Airways of 'going to unbelievable lengths' to bring about the collapse of his business empire.

Mr Goodman, who has issued a writ against BA and nine other defendants, alleges that they conspired in a dirty tricks campaign against Air Europe and its associated companies.

Mr Goodman said: 'I find it sad that a company of the stature of British Airways would go to these lengths. I ran away from it and I did not want to believe it, but the evidence is now overwhelming.'

He said that he had suspected in 1989 that a dirty tricks campaign was under way and expressed his concern in a letter to Lord King of Wartnaby, former chairman of British Airways and now life president. Mr Goodman said that he was subsequently reassured in a letter from Robert Ayling, managing director of BA, that no such campaign existed.

'Perhaps naively, I believed it. When a man like that writes to you, you tend to believe him. I was proved wrong,' he said.

The writ, which has yet to be served, claims damages for conspiracy to injure, wrongful interference with Mr Goodman's business interests, malicious falsehood and breach of European competition law.

In addition to Lord King and Mr Ayling, past and present BA employees named in the writ are: Sir Colin Marshall, chairman of BA; Captain Colin Barnes, a BA board member; Kevin Hatton, former UK sales director at BA; James Callery, former international sales director; and David Burnside, former public affairs director.

Mr Goodman is also suing Brian Basham, the former public relations consultant to BA, and Kroll Associates, a private investigations agency used by BA.

Mr Goodman, who has personal debts of pounds 7m and is receiving legal aid to pursue his action, claims that the campaign led to a climate in which rumours about the group's financial viability were rife, culminating in his financial backers withdrawing support. The business collapsed in March 1991 with the loss of 6,000 jobs.

Mr Goodman said that in the intervening period evidence had come to him that persuaded him to approach the solicitors Pannone and Partners in October 1993.

'I am not frightened of British Airways. I am determined that the truth will be told,' he said.

Stuart McInnes of Pannone and Partners said: 'Regrettably a body of evidence has now come to light leaving Mr Goodman with no alternative but to conclude that a campaign of dirty tricks was indeed in existence and was authorised at the highest levels in British Airways.

'There exists evidence that British Airways obtained access to confidential computer information and also disseminated false information,' he said.

Mr McInnes declined to give details of the dossier of evidence, which is thought to contain at least four affidavits. He also said that no decision would be taken as to when to serve the writs until a meeting next Wednesday with the leading counsel, Barbara Dohmann QC.

Mr McInnes added that while this was a personal action by Mr Goodman, administrators of Air Europe were examining the situation.

British Airways denied any knowledge of anything that justified the claims made in the writ. A spokeswoman said the board had agreed that all past and present employees could be represented by the airline's legal advisers, Linklaters and Paines.

'British Airways will defend itself against his action and is confident that Mr Goodman will fail to make his case,' she said.

British Airways also faces court action in Britain and the US by Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Atlantic. Later this month the company must weather the publication of a book by the journalist Martin Gregory, which is believed to contain fresh disclosures about BA's dirty tricks campaign against Virgin.

(Photograph omitted)

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Text messaging changes as a relationship evolves
life
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid
football
News
peoplePerformer had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer
Life and Style
food + drink
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

SQL Developer with T-SQL, Watford, Hertfordshire - £350 - £360

£350 - £360 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer with T-SQL, Watford, Hertfor...

Chief Financial Officer

120-150k: Accountancy Action: We are looking for an experienced CFO from a min...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?