Details of Archer's 'grave error' revealed: DTI share deal inquiry cost pounds 100,000

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The Independent Online
FULL DETAILS of the share deal in Anglia Television, ordered by Lord Archer from a London stockbroker, which netted almost pounds 80,000 profit, have been obtained by the Independent.

Through government sources close to the Department of Trade and Industry, which carried out a five- month inquiry costing pounds 100,000, precise details have been obtained of when Lord Archer first contacted the stockbrokers to buy the Anglia shares and at what price, and when and at what price he off-loaded them.

The shares, registered in the name of Broosk Saib by the brokers Charles Stanley, had been given an account number by the time they reached the Stock Exchange. Charles Stanley regarded Lord Archer as an effective guarantor if the shares had bombed. As they were held in Mr Saib's name staff decided to check his credit rating, but found nothing to stop the deal being completed.

Lord Archer ordered 50,000 Anglia shares on 13 and 14 January at 485p per share, paying 3p above the market rate. The deal with Simon Wharmby, of Charles Stanley, allowed Lord Archer to bring it forward into the next trading period. Payment was not due until 7 February.

At 8am on 18 January, MAI, the money broking and media group, announced its bid for Anglia. MAI valued Anglia's shares at 637p. At a few minutes after 10am, two hours after the bid announcement, Lord Archer contacted Charles Stanley and ordered the shares to be sold. All the Anglia shares were sold on to a large institution. The selling price was 646p. The profit for four days was just under pounds 80,000. Trading before 7 February, Mr Saib's name would not have appeared on later Anglia share register.

According to government sources, the Stock Exchange immediately noticed the Saib deal as 'standing out like a sore thumb'. The Stock Exchange contacted Charles Stanley on 19 January.

When telephoned by Department of Trade and Industry officials, one of the senior executives at Charles Stanley told them: 'We've been expecting your call.'

Lord Archer stated publicly on 8 July that he 'did not buy any shares' in the television company where his wife, Lady Archer, was a director.

Broosk Saib is an Iraqi Kurd business associate of Lord Archer. Mr Saib has since denied he broke any laws. He has said he knows 'where the money is'.

Lord Archer's initial denial was followed last week by a statement through his lawyers that he had made 'a grave error' in allowing his name to be associated with the purchase and sale of the Anglia shares. He denied he had benefited from the deal.

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