Guinness board 'not consulted' about Ward success fee

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The Independent Online
THE FULL Guinness board was never consulted about an alleged pounds 5.2m success fee paid by the company to Thomas Ward, a director at the time, for advising on Guinness's successful takeover bid for Distillers in May 1986, a court heard yesterday.

Three former directors - Viscount Boyd, then the deputy chairman, Edward Guinness, and Lord Moyne - told the jury at the Old Bailey that the matter had not been discussed. Mr Guinness said: 'The general ethos of the Guinness board was that one did not have extra awards or anything like that for particular work. We did our job for which we were paid.'

Mr Ward, 52, an American lawyer, has denied the theft of pounds 5.2m of property from Guinness, false accounting and dishonestly procuring the execution of a valuable security by deception.

The prosecution alleges that Mr Ward, in a joint enterprise with the former chief executive Ernest Saunders, submitted a false invoice for pounds 5.2m made out to a company called Marketing and Acquisitions Consultants (MAC), which Mr Ward controlled.

Olivier Roux, the former finance director and a principal prosecution witness, earlier alleged in court that Mr Ward told him the pounds 5.2m was payment for consultancy work on the bid carried out by third parties in the US.

Helen McLaughlin, at the time of the bid a headquarters accountant at Guinness, told the court that there had been no VAT entry on the MAC invoice shown to her for processing.

She said she would have expected to see a VAT entry on an invoice for work carried out in this country. Work carried out overseas would not be subject to VAT. But she agreed with Mr Trollope that she was not a VAT expert.

The work, she told the court, had been put through under a consultancy fees heading.

'(Mr Ward) was a director of the company . . . If he was being paid fees then that should have been going through the salary department.' The trial continues.