'Maxwells were ready to sell pension shares'

The Maxwell Trial; Day 59

Robert Maxwell and his son Kevin discussed a sale of pension fund shares several months before the tycoon died, the Old Bailey trial heard yesterday.

Shares in Teva and Scitex belonged to the Maxwell group's pension fund company, Bishopsgate Investment Management (BIM), and were to be sold as soon as the time was right, said Anders Bergendahl of US investment bank Merrill Lynch.

His company was to handle the sales for the Maxwells, but by the beginning of October 1991 - one month before Robert Maxwell's death - complications had arisen and it appeared to Merrill Lynch that the Maxwells were beginning to prefer Lehman Brothers to handle the sales.

Asked if Robert and Kevin Maxwell represented themselves to Merrill Lynch as the owners of the Teva and Scitex shares, Mr Bergendahl replied: "Well, let's put it this way: that they had at least the control over the ownership of the shares."

The question of the name in which the shares were registered had not arisen in his discussions with the two men. At the time of his talks that was not at issue.

He said that he had also discussed with Kevin the possibility of selling off a 20 per cent interest in Maxwell Communications Corporation for up to pounds 300m. The problem was that such a sale would take the family holding in MCC to less than 51 per cent. Kevin told him he was prepared to see the stake fall below that level but he indicated he would have to discuss the matter with his father.

Mr Jeff Highfield, formerly employed in an accountancy capacity by BIM, and who gave evidence on Monday, returned to the witness box after reading a number of documents at the request of Alun Jones, defending Kevin Maxwell.

He agreed with Mr Jones that while he was with BIM there had been a history of trade between the Maxwell companies and the pension funds. Those transactions had always been, to the best of his knowledge, fully settled by 5 April 1990.

They had also been examined as part of the audit by Coopers & Lybrand, which had accepted that the settlement had been properly effected and the assets properly transferred.

He had "drawn comfort" from the fact that it was easier to obtain information about the movement of shares if it was within the same organisation.

Kevin, his brother Ian, and former Maxwell aide Larry Trachtenberg all deny conspiracy to defraud the pension fund by misuse of its investments in Teva shares.

Kevin alone also denies conspiracy with his father over misuse of the pension funds' pounds 100m investments in Scitex.

The trial was adjourned to today.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
A poster by Durham Constabulary
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Emily McDowell Card that reads:
artCancer survivor Emily McDowell kicks back at the clichés
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvBadalamenti on board for third series
Life and Style
Standing room only: the terraces at Villa Park in 1935
Ben Stokes celebrates with his team mates after bowling Brendon McCullum
sportEngland vs New Zealand report
Amal Clooney has joined the legal team defending 'The Hooden Men'
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine