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Woolwich details Robinson claims

Lawyers for Peter Robinson, the Woolwich chief executive whose recent shock resignation following claims of financial irregularities rocked the society, have received the first documents detailing the allegations against him.

DJ Freeman, solicitors to Mr Robinson, said yesterday the first batch of papers had been handed over by Linklaters & Paines, who act for Woolwich.

Mr Robinson was believed to have met barristers yesterday to prepare his defence against claims that he misused society resources. However, he has resisted calls to appear at the society's annual meeting in London tomorrow, arguing that such a move would be counter-productive for himself and Woolwich.

It is understood that the documents handed on behalf of Woolwich to DJ Freeman are only the first in a series relating to his case.

More papers are likely to be submitted by Linklaters & Paines in the next few weeks, including a separate report by the accountancy firm KPMG, brought in as external auditors by Woolwich to examine the matter in more detail.

Sources within Woolwich have alleged that Mr Robinson used society gardeners to carry out work on the grounds of his property, in the village of Brasted, Kent, as well as internal decorating work on his pounds 450,000 home. It is also claimed that he wrongly obtained the use of a Range Rover for his family.

Mr Robinson, who was forced to resign suddenly two weeks ago after just three months in his new job, denies the allegations, which he argues are part of a vendetta from disgruntled employees who are aiming to smear him.

He is insisting on compensation for the sudden end of his two-year revolving contract, worth about pounds 300,000 a year.