'Tiny' will use pounds 220m fortune in Lonrho war

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TINY ROWLAND, joint boss of the Lonrho trading group, has vowed to deploy his pounds 220m wealth to fight to the bitter end against boardroom opponents, whom he accuses of waging a public relations war to unseat him.

In an interview with the Independent today, Mr Rowland says that he is launching a fierce attack against Dieter Bock, his co-chief executive in the Lonrho boardroom, and the company's City public relations adviser, Anthony Cardew, who he is threatening to sue.

He blames Mr Cardew, who he says had Mr Bock's backing, for reports last week about a planned boardroom coup that did not materialise. Mr Cardew denies any involvement.

Taking to the offensive, Mr Rowland says: 'They took me on. They started this nonsense. As the Mexican general said: 'As a friend I'm good, as an enemy I'm excellent'.'

He is infuriated by suggestions that his cost to the company was pounds 5.5m a year. The cost was said to include the use of a Gulfstream jet at pounds 2m a year. But he says this was used most recently for a 14-day business tour by Mr Bock and his wife.

Mr Rowland says he has pounds 140m cash, 50m Lonrho shares, pounds 8.5m a year in interest and dividends, and not a penny of debt. 'I have the means to take on these people.'

The burgeoning feud has similarities to the nine-year battle he waged until last year with the Fayed brothers who own Harrods. Like the Fayeds, Mr Bock began as an ally.

Full interview, page 24