Speculation over renewed Anglia TV share inquiry

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The Independent Online

Political Correspondent

Allegations of insider dealing in Anglia TV shares, which last year centred on Lord Archer have resurfaced in a new Department of Trade & Industry investigation, it was claimed yesterday.

The inquiry is said to have been reopened in May on the instructions of Michael Heseltine, then President of the Board of Trade, following reports that Karen Morgan Thomas, a stockbroker friend of Lord Archer, made a pounds 22,000 profit on the sale of Anglia shares which soared in value when MAI launched a takeover bid in December 1993.

Adopting conventional practice, the Department of Trade and Industry said yesterday: "It is not our policy to confirm or deny whether we are investigating an individual or a company." But a Sunday Mirror report said the reopened inquiry covers a longer period than the original probe, allowing inspectors to scrutinise transactions involving Ms Morgan Thomas. The link between Ms Morgan Thomas and Lord Archer will refuel the controversy he had hoped had died down when Mr Heseltine decided, after taking legal advice, that the novelist should not face an insider dealing prosecution after he bought 50,000 Anglia shares for a friend, Broosk Fawzi Saib. The shares rose by pounds 80,000 on news of the bid, at a time when Lord Archer's wife Mary was a member of the Anglia TV board.

The former Tory chairman was forced to apologize to his wife, who later resigned from the board. Like Lord Archer, Ms Morgan Thomas has rejected allegations of insider dealing, insisting that she acted on a newspaper tip.