Letter: Moral questions raised by Philby sale

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The Independent Online
sir: Nicholas Bethell ('Profits and losses of treachery', 6 September) may have a moral case for the seizing of the pounds 150,000 raised by Sotheby's sale of Kim Philby's books, papers and medals. But he has no legal case at all. British law says convicted criminals may not benefit from their crime. But Philby was never convicted of anything. He left his belongings to his wife in a legally recognised will (I have seen it) and she has never been convicted of anything.

The British Government gave her a visa to come to London to sell Philby's effects. Under what law could the proceeds of that sale be taken from Mrs Philby?

Yours faithfully,


London, W2

6 September