Kevin sought 'flexibility'

The Maxwell Trial
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Kevin Maxwell sought "greater flexibility" from Lloyds Bank in the month before his father, Robert, was found dead on 5 November 1991, an Old Bailey jury heard yesterday.

Tanya Leach (nee Bowden), former assistant manager of the corporate division of Lloyds Bank, said, however, that the bank wanted a reduction in loan facilities. The "global" amount owed to Lloyds amounted to pounds 215m on 18 October 1991.

She said that she asked Kevin for information and he replied that October was a bad month for the group. He told her that the European, a weekly newspaper then part of Robert Maxwell's publishing empire, was losing pounds 900,000 a month.

Mrs Leach said that because of the debt situation somebody from Lloyds spoke to executives of the Maxwell group on an almost daily basis. Clare Montgomery, defending Kevin, suggested that he had been willing to give Lloyds full information about the group's activities.

"I would stress I did not personally feel we had achieved all our aims," Mrs Leach replied.

The court also heard that Bishopsgate Investment Management, the pension fund firm of the Maxwell Group, regarded Lehman Brothers International as "unfriendly".

Daniel Chinn, an Israeli lawyer whose firm worked for the Maxwell group, was questioned about events a few days after Robert Maxwell's death.

He agreed that at the time BIM was involved in attempts to get loans in Israel on the security of shares in Teva, an Israeli pharmaceutical company.

Uzi Karniel, secretary and legal adviser to Teva, said that Robert Maxwell had negotiated to buy a substantial holding in Teva and the shares were held by BIM. Mr Karniel said that after the acquisition Ian Maxwellwas appointed a director. Teva shares had been pledged to Lehman Brothers at the time and the idea was to get them out of the hands of the American bank and pledge them with Bank Hapoalim in Israel, which was seen by the Maxwells as being "friendly".

In the dock are Kevin, his brother, Ian, and two former Maxwell aides, Larry Trachtenberg and Robert Bunn. All deny conspiracy to defraud in respect of the pension fund's holding of Teva shares.