Maxwell seeks ban on 'inside story' book

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The Independent Online

Kevin Maxwell's solicitors have applied to the Attorney General to have a new book about his father Robert Maxwell banned, on the grounds that he faces a further fraud trial.

Maxwell: The Final Verdict by Tom Bower was published last Friday and 13,000 copies have already been sent out to shops. The 478-page book includes what it describes as "the inside story of Kevin and Ian Maxwell's trial".

Mr Bower portrayed himself last night in a strongly worded statement as a victim. He said: "Since this book is very carefully written to avoid prejudicing the trial I expect the court to protect me and the book since it does not infringe their [the Maxwells'] rights."

Kevin's solicitors, Peters & Peters, want the book withdrawn. Two weeks ago he was acquitted on two charges of conspiracy to defraud the Maxwell pension funds after an eight- month trial costing an estimated pounds 25m.

Last Friday, the Serious Fraud Office astonished observers by declaring that it was pressing ahead with three further charges of fraud against Kevin, as well as charges against former Maxwell employees Larry Trachtenberg, Michael Stoney and Albert Fuller.

Yesterday, Keith Oliver, of Peters & Peters, said: "We view the book with the utmost concern and we are making the strongest possible representations to the Attorney General. We are urging him to restrain its publication."

A spokesman for the Attorney General's office said last night: "We have received representations from Kevin Maxwell's solicitors and we are giving them careful consideration."

Mr Bower said last night that he would resist the request for a ban on the following grounds that "Kevin Maxwell has spoken quite openly to the press . There has been an enormous amount of coverage in the newspapers and on TV".

He went on: "Most important of all, we believe that the book is not a contempt of court. We believe Section 2 of the Contempt of Court Act will show that the book in no way prejudices the trial."

A legal spokesman for the book's publishers, Harper Collins, said: "We haven't heard anything as yet, either from Kevin Maxwell's solicitors or the Attorney General's office. Our solicitors, Biddle & Co, have not heard anything either."

The Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay, is currently studying the legal problem of whether the judge in the first Maxwell trial, Lord Justice Phillips, has jurisdiction to continue with the second trial.

His office said yesterday that he had not yet arrived at a decision.