Yentob 'is victim of smear campaign'

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Alan Yentob, the distinguished BBC executive under investigation over the alleged abuse of his expenses, has been the victim of a nasty smear campaign, according to senior television executives who yesterday leapt to his defence.

Alan Yentob, the distinguished BBC executive under investigation over the alleged abuse of his expenses, has been the victim of a nasty smear campaign, according to senior television executives who yesterday leapt to his defence.

Mr Yentob is said to have used his company car and chauffeur for personal journeys. Other allegations relate to upgrades for airline tickets.

Mr Yentob also received the backing of his former boss Greg Dyke, who resigned as head of the BBC earlier this year. He said: "I have always been a great fan of Alan's. Last year I recommended he receive a special bonus because of all the additional work he put in when Imagine was created. In my view Alan is an enormous asset to the BBC."

Senior colleagues said Mr Yentob, the head of drama, entertainment and children's programmes, is the victim of a deliberate smear.

On Friday, the BBC confirmed the new director-general, Mark Thompson, had authorised an internal investigation. Mr Yentob, 57, a one-time controller of both BBC1 and BBC2, who also presents the arts programme Imagine on BBC1, responded with a flat denial of any wrongdoing.

A senior and long-term BBC colleague who did not want to be named, said: "Someone somewhere has started to say things that are very unhelpful, very unfair, and I suspect, very untrue. This isn't about diverting public funds. Alan's a very wealthy man - he doesn't need to take money from the BBC. It's bloody unfair. Alan has given his life to the BBC."

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