Rowland briefs Gaddafi

BTiny Rowland visited Tripoli earlier this month to brief Colonel Muammar Gaddafi on Lonrho's plans for its Metropole hotel subsidiary, which is one third owned by the Libyans.

But last night the international trading group's co-chief executive, who is leaving the board shortly, denied there had been any talk about Libya taking a share stake in Lonrho itself through the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Co.

Lafico bought its stake in the Metropole chain from Lonrho for £177m just before United Nations sanctions were announced against Libyan terrorism.

Any new share dealings with Libya would be illegal under the sanctions, which would be enforced in the UK by the Bank of England.

Mr Rowland said "Knowing the position of the Bank of England better than anyone else, having done the previous deal, I obviously felt a moral obligation to keep them (Libya) informed about our interests in hotels.''

The Libyans had invited him over because they were upset at not being informed what was happening. He said he told them that nothing had actually been done about setting the flotation in motion.

Mr Rowland said he was "absolutely staggered" when a Lonrho associate showed him a copy of a press release from Lafico which claimed he was in negotiation over a co-operation deal. The release said this could include selling his 6 per cent stake in Lonrho to help the Libyans to build a 10 per cent holding.

He denied that he had any intention of selling his stake, adding: "I would never have suggested or discussed with them buying shares in Lonrho because it would have been against the law".

However, Mr Rowland was sure that as soon as sanctions were lifted, the Libyans would be interested in buying shares in Lonrho. He added that he was still certain that the Libyans were not to blame for the Lockerbie bombing.

There are two Libyan members of the Metropole board but they are not on the Lonrho board. A Lonrho source claimed the two were kept informed of the main board's thinking on Metropole.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

MBDA UK Ltd: Indirect Procurement Category Manager

Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore