Venables: my signature was forged
Tuesday 01 November 1994
In a statement to SFO detectives, details of which have been obtained by the Independent, Mr Venables insists someone else countersigned the letter in his name, giving the impression that he was prepared to act as guarantor.
The letter was used in last night's Panorama programme as part of evidence casting doubt on Mr Venables' business probity. It was sent by Steven Illidge, investment controller of Landhurst Leasing, the company that advanced a pounds 1m loan at a time when Mr Venables was raising cash to buy half of Tottenham Hotspur FC with Alan Sugar, the Amstrad chairman.
Dated 2 September 1991, the letter gives details of proposed terms and conditions of the loan to Edennote Ltd, Mr Venables' company, and includes the wording: ``We will require . . . the personal guarantee of Mr Terry Venables.'' The Panorama journalists Mark Killick and Martin Bashir obtained a copy of the letter, which was countersigned ``T F Venables''.
But in January, Mr Venables told the SFO, which is investigating the activities of Landhurst Leasing: ``I would not and did not supply a personal guarantee. I have . . . been shown another copy of that letter. On the second page there appears an acceptance of the terms and conditions contained in the letter.
``The acceptance bears a signature, T F Venables. This is not my signature.''
The Panorama programme made three central allegations against Mr Venables:
- That the ``loan'' he took out with Landhurst was in fact a sale and leaseback deal involving the assets of four pubs belonging to Transatlantic Inns, a company of which he used to be a director. The programme alleged that the pubs' assets were not Mr Venables' to sell. Further, it said one of the pubs did not even exist.
- That Mr Venables refused to repay the balance of the pounds 1m loan when Landhurst went into liquidation in 1992 because his personal guarantee went missing from Landhurst's safe. Panorama alleged he eventually repaid pounds 700,000 of a total of pounds 1.4m (including interest), leaving the creditors pounds 700,000 out of pocket.
- That he unlawfully took pounds 435,000 out of Edennote last year ahead of other creditors when it went into receivership. He made himself a preferential creditor by claiming he had put money into the company. Panorama said he had not.
However, in an exclusive interview with the Independent yesterday, Mr Venables denied ever making a personal guarantee for the loan. He said: ``All I can say is that it was not my signature on that piece of paper. I don't know why it was forged but I do know I pointed out to the SFO which part [of the signature] proved it was not mine and they agreed.
``I am not in the slightest bit concerned about the allegations because I have done nothing wrong. Despite the fact that I had not signed a personal guarantee, and even though two sets of solicitors advised me that I had no legal duty to pay money to Landhurst, I am repaying pounds 775,000 because I feel morally bound. That's more than its other debtors have done.''
Laughing it off, page 2
Leading article, page 15
- 1 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 2 How to turn off/stop 'seen by' on Facebook: Disable it to make your chats seem less passive aggressive
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
- 5 Buckingham Palace guard who attacked passers-by in 'most most violent piece of CCTV footage' police officer had seen walks free
Top 20 misconceptions people believe are true
Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
Nepal earthquake: More than 1,100 killed across four countries and in Mount Everest avalanche
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...
Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...
£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...