Maxwell trustees to make payments

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THE trustees of the Maxwell 'conscience money' fund chaired by Sir John Cuckney have decided to take over the payments previously being made from the Government's pounds 2.5m emergency fund, which is about to run out, writes John Willcock.

The Maxwell Pensioners Trust has raised pounds 6m from many sources. But Sir John has faced problems in gaining City donations because some see them as an admission of guilt in the affair.

The Government set up the pounds 2.5m fund last year as a temporary 'drip feed' to tide pensioners over until the teams of liquidators of the late Robert Maxwell's business empire could start making payments from recovered money.

The Maxwell Pensioners Trust said yesterday that it would make funds available to pension schemes on the same terms as the Government's emergency funding. Depending on the demands made upon it, and not taking into account additional assets that may be recovered by the pension schemes, the trustees said they would expect the trust at its present level to last for at least one year, but more likely for two.

Payments to Maxwell pensioners, many of whom are now experiencing considerable hardship, have been held up by a legal wrangle over which particular pension funds should receive which recoveries made by the liquidators.

The Common Investment Fund contained the bulk of the pensioners' money and was run by the Maxwell family-controlled Bishopsgate Investment Management. The trustees of the pension schemes are engaged in agreeing a method for sharing out the CIF assets to the respective schemes.