Pembroke: How to get away with it

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The Independent Online
RUDOLPH AGNEW, Sir Nicholas Goodison, Lord Spens, Sir Clive Sinclair and Sir John Quinton - what do they have in common? A multi-million-pound fraud, that's what. It is, of course, an entirely fictitious fraud, and comes courtesy of a new series of Hypotheticals on BBC 2.

The idea is that top businessmen explain to the public, via a hypothetical example, how the likes of Robert Maxwell get away with it. The most eyebrow-raising moment is said to come when Sir Clive approves the loan of pounds 3m from the imaginary firm's pension fund to tide it over a cash-flow problem. 'Assuming there was a legal way,' he stresses.

WE LIKED this quote from Tim Green, chief consultant to the Gold Fields Mineral Services annual review of gold markets, the goldbug's guide: 'As we went round this year, the souks said what they haven't said for three or four years - that the price had to go up.' The coded admission is this: the Gold Fields team visits 60 countries and spends a whole lot of time cruising round the Middle East and Asia as it assesses the gold market. Now we know that you can forget the travelling, forget reading up on George Soros - and pop down the nearest souk and button-hole a trader for the answer.

AND THEN there were 12. Polly Peck's creditors committee, which meets at the Holborn HQ of its administrators, Coopers & Lybrand, this morning, has already lost one of its original banking members.

The First City Texas bank went bust late last year - its parent was seized by federal regulators, most of its assets were acquired by Chemical Bank and its former vice- chairman, Frank Cihak, faces charges relating to an alleged dollars 3.7m fraud.

Obviously the curse of Asil Nadir throws a long shadow, though, on reflection, perhaps 13 was not the best number to have started with. Warburg, Standard Chartered, et al, you have been warned.

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