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Mark Thatcher breaks silence

Mark Thatcher broke his silence last night to deny he exploited his mother's connections to win multi-million-pound business contracts.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Thatcher criticised newspaper ``innuendo'' about his business dealings and said he was not worth more than pounds 5m. He also said new revelations that backing for one of his biggest deals came from some of his mother's closest business supporters were ``not significant''.

Contradicting press reports, he said his friendship with Syrian-born financier Wafic Said did not net him a pounds 12m fortune in the Al Yamamah arms deal between Saudi Arabia and the UK: ``Merely because I know this man does not mean to say that he is going to pay me pounds 12m because I am a nice guy.

``It would be significantly wrong to conclude I am worth more than pounds 5m. There is nothing to support it apart from innuendo. The whole idea that I have had tremendous success is just a myth.''

The latest revelations about Mr Thatcher are that backing for a huge US investment deal had come from some of Margaret Thatcher's closest business supporters.

The Financial Times says two donors to the Conservative Party - Hanson, a UK-quoted conglomerate, and Li Ka-Shing, a Hong Kong billionaire - invested in a consortium put together by Mr Thatcher and his then partner, Bruce Leadbetter. Other investors in Emergency Networks, the Dallas-based company in which Mr Thatcher and his partners invested, included Bruce Babbitt, the US Interior Secretary.

Company faces ruin, page 2