Lottery head tells of `concern' about firm

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The Independent Online
The National Lottery director-general, Peter Davis, told the chairman of the winning consortium Camelot of his "real concern" about GTech, a member of the group, on the day after the licence was awarded, the High Court heard yesterday.

Giving evidence in the libel trial involving Richard Branson, Mr Davis said that he had told Sir Ron Dearing, Camelot's chairman, that he was aware of criticism of GTech, particularly of its practices in obtaining lottery contracts in the United States.

"I told Sir Ron that these practices would be unacceptable in the UK and that this was a matter of concern to me and that I had accepted GTech as fit and proper for their role in the UK national lottery because they were part of a consortium with four other major companies and the consortium had demonstrated to me that it had a respect for, and a culture of, corporate governance," he said.

Mr Branson, head of the Virgin group, is suing GTech and its head Guy Snowden over claims linked to an alleged bribe attempt. Mr Snowden, 52, is suing Mr Branson for making the allegation in a Panorama programme in December 1995.

The hearing continues.