No blame in Guinness report

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The Independent Online
The long-awaited official report into the Guinness affair will be published on Thursday, contrary to City rumours that it was to be delayed.

However, the report will prove a disappointment to those expecting blame to be apportioned to the leading players caught up in the scandal. It is understood that the report does not offer any criticisms of the main participants, opting instead for a detailed account of events surrounding Guinness' takeover of Distillers in 1986.

The Department of Trade and Industry inspectors are not expected to directly criticise the principal players, such as the former Guinness chief executive, Ernest Saunders, who was jailed for his part in the affair. But they may invite regulators to take action if necessary. No changes are recommended to takeover law, though many have already been made in the 11 years since the inspectors were appointed.

The report is not nearly as critical as the interim report, which was never published. However, it will be closely observed by some of the City figures caught up in the Guinness affair as some are still working in the City. These include David Mayhew, a senior partner at Cazenove, and Christopher Reeves, chief executive of Merrill Lynch in Europe.

Lawyers for Cazenove, Guinness' brokers at the time and now joint brokers with Hoare Govett, have been examining the report. Though there may be objections from one or two of the individuals dragged into the scandal, they are not expected to challenge the report's findings.

The Treasury Solicitor sent letters to all newspapers on Friday, preventing the publication of material divulging "or purporting to divulge" contents of the report ahead of its publication.

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