Iraqi confirms shares deal with Archer

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The Independent Online
AN IRAQI businessman yesterday confirmed that he had been involved in a 'private deal' with Lord Archer over the purchase of shares in Anglia television.

The statement by Fawzi Broosk Saib, who last night was said to be away from his London flat, brought renewed calls for an 'immediate independent assessment' of the Department of Trade and Industry's report on allegations of insider trading.

Robin Cook, Labour trade and industry spokesman, said the Crown Prosecution Service or another legally qualified body should be given immediate access to the DTI report. Michael Heseltine, President of the Board of Trade, cleared Lord Archer on 28 July of any illegal share dealing prior to the takeover of Anglia Television by MAI for pounds 292m. Lord Archer's wife, Mary, is a non-executive director of Anglia.

Mr Cook said: 'Every day now brings new information which strengthens the case for this matter to be reopened.'

Before leaving his pounds 300,000 flat in Putney, where his family own two other properties, Mr Saib refused to say whether he was the beneficiary of a reported pounds 80,000 profit made in Anglia shares only days before the takeover bid sent shares rocketing.

The shares were bought through the stockbrokers Charles Stanley. Until yesterday the firm had remained silent on its role. However the managing director, David Howard, told the Independent: 'We have been covering ourselves with the fig- leaf of confidentiality. But we are now very much in the frame.'

Mr Howard said that the firm still remained bound by a DTI 'gagging order' but he confirmed that the brokers who dealt with Lord Archer had given evidence to DTI investigators and that 'documents had been handed over'.

It is understood that Lord Archer contacted Charles Stanley twice over a 24-hour period four days before the MAI bid for Anglia. A total of 50,000 shares were purchased, registered in the name of Mr Saib. Mr Howard said it was unusual for a 'private client' to nominate another individual.

Following the takeover, an internal examination by Charles Stanley led to a report being sent to the Stock Exchange's Insider Trading Group. The DTI then ordered its own investigation. The City watchdog, the Securities and Futures Authority, had been studying papers forwarded by the DTI. However, according to City sources, it is now believed the firm acted in a 'clear and proper manner'.

Neither Lord nor Lady Archer was available to comment yesterday.

(Photograph omitted)

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