LETTER : Virgin denial

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The Independent Online
From Mr Richard Branson

Sir: Your editorial (Business, 30 January) was based on the assumption that the original source of leaks surrounding the Channel Tunnel rail link was Virgin, or London and Continental Railways, in which Virgin is a shareholder. In fact, stories have been circulating for some weeks to the effect that London and Continental may be the front runner, but I have not spoken to any newspaper on the subject, and no one from our organisation has attempted to solicit the recent coverage of this matter.

Your piece also made other claims that Virgin has never made. For example, that we claimed victory before the announcement of Channel 5. We did not. In fact, we did not necessarily expect to win, but we did not expect to lose without a proper explanation when we knew the quality of our bid was good. We subsequently established that it had been passed by officers of the ITC.

By the way, London and Continental is not a "Virgin" consortium, and neither I nor any of the shareholders have ever claimed that it was. As for who does win the competition - we will all know soon enough.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Branson

Chairman

Virgin Group of Companies.

London, W8

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