Jeremy Paxman's diplomat brother Giles caught up in fake bomb detector scandal

 

Jeremy Paxman’s diplomat brother unwittingly allowed the British Embassy in Mexico City to be used as a showroom for bogus bomb detectors, a court has heard.

Giles Paxman, 61, now UK ambaddasor to Spain, also let businessman Gary Bolton hold sales meetings at his official residence, a jury at the Old Bailey was told. Mr Paxman even wrote letters to potential customers in Mexico “emphasising the excellence of the UK security industry”.

The younger brother of the Newsnight presenter was the ambassador to Mexico from 2005 until 2009. During that time, scores of GT200 devices, produced by Bolton’s Global Technical Ltd, were sold to the Mexican government at a cost of up to $30,000 each.

Bolton, 47, claimed the machines were able to locate explosives, drugs, cash, tobacco and even ivory at distances of up to three miles. In reality the detector was nothing more than a retractable antenna mounted on a plastic box.

The businessman, who maintains that the devices work, is on trial for fraud. Jurors heard the embassy’s unwitting involvement in Bolton’s alleged scam began in 2005 and only ceased when bosses in London raised the alarm five years later.

Fernando Estandia is head of security at UK Trade and Investment, a government body set up to promote exports by British businesses, at the Mexico City embassy.

Giving evidence, he was asked by Bolton’s lawyer, Jonathan Higgs QC, about statements he supposedly made to bosses when they began investigating.

One statement read: “The sales meetings sometimes took place in the embassy or the residence, occasionally with the presence of the ambassador, Giles Paxman.”

Mr Estandia said: “My opinion is I wouldn’t be surprised if those meetings happened.” He added that the Mexican military was still using the devices in 2010 and added: “They were very positive about them.”

Bolton, of Chatham, Kent, denies fraud by false representation and making or supplying an item for use in fraud between 2007 and 2012. The trial continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
British author Helen Macdonald, pictured with Costa book of the year, 'H is for Hawk'
booksPanel hail Helen Macdonald's 'brilliantly written, muscular prose' in memoir of a grief-stricken daughter who became obsessed with training a goshawk
Sport
footballLive blog: Follow the action from the Capital One Cup semi-final
Life and Style
food + drink
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century