Hamilton `demanded pounds 10,000 fee from oil firm'

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The Independent Online
NEIL HAMILTON telephoned an oil company director and demanded a pounds 10,000 fee after tabling a Commons amendment to a government Bill, the High Court heard yesterday.

Peter Whiteman, QC, a tax adviser for Mobil, said he was startled when he was also rung up by the former Tory MP and asked bluntly: "What do Mobil pay?"

Mr Whiteman was giving evidence in the libel trial on behalf of Mohamed al-Fayed, who is being sued by Mr Hamilton over claims that the MP tabled questions in the Commons in return for cash, gifts and free holidays.

Mr Whiteman said that he had "not anticipated for one moment that Mr Hamilton would seek payment". He said he had a meeting with the former MP in May 1989 to voice Mobil's concerns over a clause in that year's Finance Bill. The court heard that Mr Hamilton had moved an amendment to the Bill advantageous to the oil industry and then demanded and received pounds 10,000 from Mobil. He had failed to disclose his actions when questioned by the then Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine, Tory chief whip Richard Ryder and cabinet secretary Sir Robin Butler.

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