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Money

King Abdul Aziz

World's richest royals

See why Saudi Arabia's king makes our royals look skint


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The Meaning of Respect

According to Romano Guardini



Respect comes from the German word ehrfrucht, meaning both fear and honor.

Respect is a strange word, this combination of fear and honor. Fear which honors; honor which is pervaded by fear. What kind of fear could that be? Certainly not the kind of fear that comes upon us in the face of something harmful or that causes pain. That kind of fear causes us to defend ourselves and to seek safety.

 

The fear of which we shall speak does not fight or flee, but it forbids obtrusiveness, keeps one at a distance, does not permit the breath of one's own being to touch the revered object. Perhaps it is would be better to speak of this fear as "awe."


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In my lifetime RESPECT has to be earned and is something nobody can buy even for a BILLION DOLLAR'S!

 

To FEAR someone and RESPECT them is a bit of badabing!

You ain't got no RESPECT through FEAR...........Case Closed!

 

You can do a billfold with the Greenbacks but you ain't gonna buy RESPECT!


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Quote:
Originally Posted by TONY

In my lifetime RESPECT has to be earned and is something nobody can buy even for a BILLION DOLLAR'S!

 

To FEAR someone and RESPECT them is a bit of badabing!

You ain't got no RESPECT through FEAR...........Case Closed!

 

You can do a billfold with the Greenbacks but you ain't gonna buy RESPECT!

Hi TONY and thank you for the very relevant post


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Blair aide questioned in cash for peerages investigation

Ruth Turner, Mr Blair's 'gatekeeper', is the fourteenth person to be questioned under caution (Murdo Macleod)
A SENIOR adviser to Tony Blair has been questioned under caution by police about correspondence that discusses the possibility of nominating Labour donors for peerages, The Times has learnt.

Ruth Turner, Downing Street’s director of government relations, was interviewed last week by Scotland Yard detectives investigating cash-for-honours allegations, Labour sources confirmed.

She was asked about e-mails and documents that raised questions about which Labour lenders might be placed on a list to be submitted to the House of Lords Appointments Commission.

The disclosure will deeply concern Labour officials, who fear that police may have uncovered a “smoking gun” in an inquiry that is getting closer to the Prime Minister.

Ms Turner, 36, was appointed to the key job two years ago and is known as “Tony’s gatekeeper”. Her predecessors were Anji Hunter and Baroness Morgan of Huyton. She also acted as a go-between for Mr Blair and at least one millionaire lender at the heart of the police inquiry.

Detectives discovered the correspondence when searching computer and paper files in Downing Street, sources said.

It is understood that police questions concentrated on “e-mail traffic” that appeared to have been sent both to and from Ms Turner’s workstation in Downing Street.

The e-mails, written in 2004 and 2005, discussed which lenders might be placed on a list of nominees for peerages. The list of names was to be forwarded to the House of Lords Appointments Commission, the parliamentary body that recommended the names of individuals to be appointed on merit.

Police were trying to establish whether there was a conspiracy to give out honours in exchange for loans that could later be converted into gifts.

One Labour backer, Sir Gulam Noon, has told The Times previously that he wanted to tell the commission about a £250,000 loan to Labour, but was advised not to do so.

Ms Turner, one of a handful of advisers told of Mr Blair’s plans to bow out of politics with appearances on Songs of Praise and Blue Peter, is a key aide who reports to Jonathan Powell, Mr Blair’s chief of staff.

It was reported that she visited Ian McCartney, who was then chairman of the party, in hospital so that he could sign peerage nomination forms — a claim that she has since denied. Mr McCartney has said he was unaware of the loans.

She is the fourteenth person to be questioned under caution as part of the five-month inquiry.

It is understood that she was also questioned by police about Labour’s relationship with Sir Christopher Evans, the biochemistry tycoon who lent the party £1 million before the last general election.

This will increase speculation that detectives are focusing on the party’s relationship with Sir Christopher, named last week by The Times as the first donor to be arrested as part of the inquiries


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9 November 2006
CASH-FOR-HONOURS COPS QUIZ BLAIR ALLY
By James Lyons

FORMER Cabinet minister Alan Milburn has been grilled by police probing the cash-for-honours scandal.

Milburn - one of Tony Blair's closest allies - yesterday revealed he had been questioned.

Detectives were last night tipped to interview five senior ministers.

And the Prime Minister is now expected to be quizzed some time before Christmas.

That would make him the first PM questioned in an anti-corruption case since David Lloyd George 80 years ago.

Police are investigating whether election or conspiracy laws we re broken. Four businessmen who lent £5million to Labour for the last general election campaign were nominated for the Lords.

Milburn, who ran the campaign, is thought to be one of only a few Blair allies who knew the loans existed.

He said yesterday: "I have been interviewed as a witness. The police stressed I was not a suspect and the interview did not take place under caution."

Police have also written to Gordon Brown and other top Labour figures asking them to set out in writing what they knew.

Brown jointly ran the election campaign after it hit trouble. But he has always made it clear his job as Chancellor meant he kept out of fundraising issues.

A Labour source said the police request for a written statement was just "about dotting Is and crossing Ts".

Angus MacNeil, the SNP MP who initiated the inquiry, said: "The fact that Labour heavyweights have been questioned is not a surprise.

"This seems to indicate funding of Labour's 2005 operation is now a major focus of the investigation."


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Dramatic new twist in cash-for-honours probe.

cash for peerages donors

Going public: Sir David Garrard, Barry Townsley, Sir Christopher Evans, Dr Chai Patel and Sir Gulam Noon have all indicated they would be happy to be named, contradicting Tony Blair

Security has been stepped up around police investigating the cash for honours allegations.

Special measures have been brought in to protect detectives and the incident room involved in the inquiry, the Evening Standard - the Mail's sister paper - has learned.

The extra security is believed to include additional CCTV cameras and alarms.

Read more...
We didn't ask to be anonymous, say Labour backers
Police to question former cabinet minister in 'cash for honours' inquiry
Attorney General bows to pressure to step back from 'peerages' inquiry
Now Labour accused of hiding £12million in loans from auditors

Read all today's top news stories

Security is understood to be particularly tight surrounding the Scotland Yard offices of temporary Assistant Commissioner John Yates, who is leading the investigation.

His team of hand-picked detectives and investigators are working from an incident-room in a secret location in central London. Sources say it was standard practice to review the security surrounding potentially vulnerable offices which may contain sensitive information.

One source said: "This is one of the most difficult and sensitive inquiries the Yard has ever undertaken. It could topple a government, so people have had to think of every contingency."

Tensions surrounding the inquiry are rising as it moves steadily closer to the heart of the Government and the Prime Minister himself.

Questions surrounding the security of police investigations into sensitive issues were first raised during the Lord Stevens inquiry into collusion between the security forces and paramilitaries in Northern Ireland.

The former Met chief 's HQ - supposedly one of the most secure buildings in the province - were burned down while offices in another supposedly secure location were burgled and highly sensitive documents were stolen.

While police emphasise there has been no evidence of any dirty tricks surrounding Mr Yates's investigation, Scotland Yard confirmed security at the premises involved in the cash for peerages investigation had been reviewed but refused to comment further.

Members of Tony Blair's inner circle - including director of government relations Ruth Turner and, reportedly, chief-of-staff Jonathan Powell - have already been quizzed.

Last week it emerged that virtually all ministers who served in the Cabinet in the run-up to last year's general election had been contacted by Scotland Yard.

Detectives are now preparing to interview the Prime Minister in person in the coming weeks. Asked yesterday whether Mr Blair had been contacted over the affair, a Downing Street spokesman said there had been "no change".

At the weekend senior Downing Street figures are reported to have accused the police of deliberately setting out to prove that Mr Blair and other No10 officials were corrupt.

They are also said to be angry at the way the inquiry is being run and claim that the police are leaking information to the media. The alleged remarks prompted fears that the inquiry was being targeted by a smear campaign orchestrated by Labour and Downing Street.

However, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott yesterday declared himself satisfied with the police's conduct.

The investigation was sparked by claims this year that wealthy Labour backers were being rewarded with seats in the House of Lords in return for providing secret loans.

The scope of the inquiry was then widened to cover similar claims about the Conservatives.

Three people - including Labour's unofficial fundraising chief Lord Levy - have been arrested since April, with many others questioned.

Scotland Yard sources say officers on the Operation Ribble investigation team are as determined as ever to establish the truth.

Mr Yates, 47, is one of the Yard's most experienced detectives and colleagues say he won't be intimidated from pursuing his investigation.

One said: "He will follow the evidence trail, go where the evidence takes him."

The former public school-educated history graduate is considered to be the Met's most experienced troubleshooter and is no stranger to taking on difficult assignments. He led the illfated inquiry into the Princess of Wales butler inquiry which collapsed at the Old Bailey in 2002 after an 11th hour intervention by the Queen. After that case Mr Yates was fiercely criticised and friends say the experience made him doubly determined to ensure that the cash for honours investigation was fair and thorough. The investigating team has also refused to speak about the inquiry and Mr Yates has declined all requests for interviews.

The investigation has recently been widened to look into possible accounting irregularities involving millions of pounds of Labour party loans.

Police are examining claims that officials tried to hide as much as £12 million in party loans in the approach to last year's election.

However Mr Blair's role in the honours process is still considered to be at the heart of the inquiry.

He is said to have been one of only two Cabinet ministers who knew about the secret Labour loans. The only other minister with prior knowledge of the £5 million worth of loans from businessmen is claimed to have been former party chairman Ian McCartney.

Labour claims it has committed no wrongdoing in securing more than £5 million of secret loans from a clutch of businessmen to fund its 2005 campaign.

But investigators want to know whether the deals were used to circumvent a 2000 Act of Parliament requiring all donations of more than £5,000 to be made public.

The Government has since changed the rules to ensure all loans are also fully declared.

Attorney General Lord Goldsmith today revealed that he had not received a letter from the police investigating the affair asking him for an interview. Lord Goldsmith also insisted he would not shy from any decision on whether prosecutions should be brought as a result of the inquiry.

Other Cabinet members - including Gordon Brown, John Prescott and Jack Straw - have been sent letters asking them to set out what they know about the loans.

*********************

12 people have commented on this story so far. Tell us what you think below.

Here's a sample of the latest comments published. You can click view all to read all comments that readers have sent in.

If I was leading this investigation, I would be asking for a troop from the SAS to watch my back.

- Lickyalips, Richmond, Surrey

I wonder what part the witch played in all this. Bliar wouldn't dare keep secrets from her.

- Trend, Luton UK

Let's see this sleasy government wriggle its way out of this one. This is the sort of thing voters should remember next time these people ask for us to commit our futures to their care.

- Ryk, UK


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15 November 2006
PEERAGE PROBE.

THE SNP yesterday claimed Labour could be breaking the law if outgoing MSP John Home Robertson is offered a peerage.

Nationalist MSP Alex Neil has questioned whether Home Robertson was offered an inducement to quit.

Neil has written to the Privy Council and the Metropolitan Police to question the offer. A police probe into cash for peerages is currently under way.

Neil said: "It is clear that there is something rotten at the heart of the honours system."


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TOP COP REVEALS HONOURS PROBE BREAKTHROUGH
Criminal prosecution looming...

POLICE probing cash-for-honours claims have uncovered "significant and valuable" evidence, the officer in charge revealed yesterday.

Assistant Commissioner John Yates also said that he expected to pass a file to the Crown Prosecution Service in January - dependent on further co-operation.

His revelations fuelled expectations in Westminster that Tony Blair would be grilled by officers before Christmas - the first serving PM to be quizzed by police.

Yates said his Scotland Yard team had conducted 90 interviews so far: 35 from the Labour Party, 29 from Conservatives, four from Liberal Democrats, and 22 people not linked to any particular party.

Downing Street insiders have repeatedly suggested the inquiry will come to nothing.

But Yates raised the prospect of a criminal prosecution in a letter to MPs in which he said that "considerable progress continues to be made".

He told the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee the police examination of claims that party backers were rewarded with peerages was in its "final stages".

But he added: "It will be subject to any additional lines of investigation that may result from the inquiries I am about to undertake."

The probe began after four tycoons Blair nominated for the Lords were found to have loaned Labour £6million.

Tories also took major loans which, unlike donations, did not have to be declared, to fund Britain's the election battle.

Yates also hit out at off-the-record briefings in which his squad were accused of leaking details. He said he had reviewed security and he was confident it remained "very tight".

He added: "This is endorsed by the fact that the major developments in this inquiry are not in the public domain."

He went on: "Due to the possibility of future criminal proceedings and the need for further inquiries to be undertaken, I do not believe it would be appropriate to comment further on the current status of the inquiry."

Western Isles Nats MP Angus MacNeil, who went to police and triggered their inquiry, was voted Inquisitor of the Year by a magazine yesterday.


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PM GONGS CASE BLOW

THE top cop leading the cash for honours probe is to hand his dossier over to MPs, even if nobody is charged with a criminal offence.

Senior Downing Street officials are now terrified that the Met's Assistant Commissioner John Yates has enough dirt to "finish off" and "completely discredit" the government.

We can also reveal that:

  • THE Tories have been completely CLEARED of any wrongdoing, to the fury of Downing Street.

  • THE Prime Minister will only be interviewed as a witness — NOT as a suspect — so he will not face a police caution before the meeting.

  • THE Crown Prosecution Service now DOUBT whether anyone will be charged with a criminal offence.

    Details


    AC Yates has pledged to hand a file over to the Crown Prosecution Service in January. His detectives have spent months poring through thousands of documents and emails and interviewing 90 people. Mr Yates has publicly agreed he will provide a powerful committee of MPs access to all his findings.

    In his letter to MPs last week he promised: "I will be prepared to discuss all relevant details of the investigation when I am in a position to do so." He will give evidence to the powerful Commons Public Administration Committee. While the Yard investigation may not prove that the government gave out peerages in return for massive loans and donations it has lifted the lid on the amount of access major donors enjoyed from the government in return for their money.

    Emails seized from Downing Street and Labour Party officials show the donors enjoyed private meetings with the PM and ministers. They regularly dined with MPs and were given briefings on Labour Party policy.

    One Labour Party source who has been quizzed said: "Even without a smoking gun, the evidence would completely discredit the Labour Party. It is easy to see how cash for access was going on. That's enough to finish off several people."

    The CPS consider the Conservatives to be "in the clear". Cops have been told further inquiries would be a waste of time. But that has infuriated No10 who are still waiting to see if they are off the hook.

    Optimistic


    A senior Downing Street source said: "They are now hunting headlines, not criminals."

    Downing Street are optimistic after learning the PM will NOT be arrested. A CPS source revealed: "The PM will not be arrested, or cautioned, he will be treated as a witness, not a suspect." However, his chief of staff Jonathan Powell and director of government relations Ruth Turner can expect to be questioned again under caution.

  • *********************

    Watchdog seeks loans prosecutions

    THE "cash-for-honours" saga took another twist last night as it emerged that the election watchdog is poised to recommend prosecutions over the millions of pounds in secret loans received by Labour.

    In a potentially disastrous blow to Tony Blair, senior officials from the Electoral Commission are set to recommend charges against politicians or party officials even if there is judged to be only a 50% chance of success in court.

    The Electoral Commission, which monitors donations to political parties, believes such a prosecution would be "in the public interest".

    Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner John Yates, who is in charge of the police inquiry, is close to concluding a case for breaches of laws governing elections and the financing of political parties.

    The Electoral Commission has received evidence from Yates and considered whether Labour's loans breached the terms of the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

    Scotland on Sunday understands officials are concerned over whether loans were properly disclosed in party returns, and whether they were agreed at a commercial rate of interest, in line with regulations.

    The development piles on the pressure for Blair because the elections laws were previously regarded as a "secondary" danger to the Prime Minister and his colleagues. The real threat was perceived as coming from suggestions that tycoons were offered peerages as a "reward" for multi-million-pound loans to Labour, in breach of 1925 regulations preventing the "sale" of honours.

    Crucially, the Electoral Commission will have first say over whether any charges are brought as a result of the cash-for-honours affair, before the completed police file is sent to prosecutors in January.

    "The commission has received a large amount of evidence from the police," a source close to the organisation confirmed last night. "There is now an expectation in there that it will recommend a prosecution if there is only a 50/50 chance of success. They believe it will be in the public interest to test the law."

    The warnings of looming charges over breaches of electoral law came as a member of Labour's ruling body confessed he feared the party could face action over its accounting procedures at the very least.

    The grim forecast was reinforced last week when Yates revealed he had uncovered "significant and valuable" evidence and was close to passing a report to UK prosecutors.

    But it emerged last night that Yates was "bounced" into showing his hand in a letter to senior MPs after they complained his original account of progress was "totally unacceptable".

    The detective was then outraged after the Public Accounts Committee went ahead and published his letter, which was immediately interpreted as pointing to a mass of evidence against Blair.

    A source close to the committee said: "It [the first letter] was totally unacceptable. It didn't tell the committee anything it didn't already know. They asked him to come back with a more comprehensive update.

    "

    After Yates's strongly worded second letter arrived, committee members released it to the media.

    An appointment to interview Blair now looks imminent, after Yates said he was "about to undertake" other inquiries.

    Related topics


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    Hewitt quizzed in honours probe
    Patricia Hewitt
    Ms Hewitt's interview was described as 'brief'
    Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt has been questioned by police over the cash-for-honours inquiry.

    Ms Hewitt said in a statement that she had been interviewed only as a "witness to their inquiry". Her meeting with detectives lasted less than an hour.

    Police are investigating whether party donors received honours in return for cash. All involved deny wrongdoing.

    Ms Hewitt confirmed earlier this month that she was among five ministers who had been asked for an interview.

    Former Cabinet colleague Alan Milburn has already been questioned, again as a witness.

    'Ready to assist'

    Downing Street declined to comment on Ms Hewitt's questioning.

    Ms Hewitt said: "The police made it very clear to me... I was interviewed as a witness, not as a suspect.

    "I've always said I would assist the police if necessary. What I'm really concerned with is the NHS," she told GMTV.

    The interview took place in London, though not at the Department of Health, her spokeswoman said.

    The honours probe began after it was revealed all three main parties were given secret loans ahead of the last election.

    It now appears many, if not all, of the Cabinet members at around the time of the 2005 general election, apart from Tony Blair, have received letters from or been contacted in some other way by detectives.

    Police have spoken to 90 people, including some of Mr Blair's closest advisers, and, from the Conservative side, former leader Michael Howard.

    Assistant Commissioner John Yates has said he hopes to present a report to the Crown Prosecution Service in January.


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    Labour facing cash flow problems
    State opening of Parliament
    Police are investigating whether donors received honours for cash
    Labour has admitted facing "acute cash flow problems" as Electoral Commission figures reveal the main political parties owe a total of £60m in loans.

    The figures show the Tories owe £35.3m, Labour £23.4m and the Lib Dems £1.1m. The Scottish National Party owe £525,393 and Plaid Cymru £352,000.

    It is the first time parties have had to declare all loans above £5,000.

    Labour said that despite rescheduling most debt, it is still struggling to repay loans to two of its donors.

    LOANS OUTSTANDING
    Conservatives: £35.3m
    Labour: £23.4m
    Lib Dems: £1.1m
    SNP: £525, 393
    Plaid Cymru: £352,000
    Respect: £34, 878
    UKIP: £19,200

    In a statement issued after the commission's figures were published, Labour said it was in the midst of a "difficult financial year".

    It said it was arguing for a future where "political parties should live within their means" - and in the meantime was restructing to cut costs and to extend the repayment date of most of its loans.

    However, it added, "two of our commercial loans from individual supporters had not been rescheduled and repayment is due".

    'Difficult circumstances'

    The party is in discussions with those two individuals as "any organisation that is seeking to manage its cash flow in difficult circumstances" would do.

    The Electoral Commission figures come as police are investigating whether party donors received honours in return for cash. All involved deny wrongdoing.

    A change in the law in September means all loans of £5,000 and above to main political party offices have to be declared, bringing rules covering loans into line with those for donations.

    DONATIONS
    Conservatives: £2,867,019
    Labour: £3,227,340
    Lib Dems: £629,903
    SNP: £52,430
    Plaid: £12,250
    Co-operative Party: £142,036
    Ukip: £17,913
    Green Party: £138,396
    Scottish Greens: £31,373

    Previously any loans made with a commercial rate of interest did not have to be declared.

    The commission also revealed that during the third quarter of this year, the Conservatives received donations worth £4m, Labour got £3.2 and the Lib Dems £1.1m.

    Electoral Commission chief executive Peter Wardle said the parties had made "good progress" in reporting loans but he was "concerned some are still struggling to report donations on time".

    Labour declared £207,155 of donations late, the Tories £168,259 and the Lib Dems £23,181.

    'Unacceptable'

    Mr Wardle said: "It is unacceptable that the Labour Party has failed to report a significant amount of donations to the national party on time.

    "Labour have taken steps to improve their reporting procedures as a matter of urgency and we're working closely with them to ensure this happens."

    In response a Labour spokesman said the party "takes the issue of late donation reporting seriously" and is "determined to remedy" the situation.

    BIGGEST LENDERS
    Allied Irish Bank: £18.45m to Tories (mortgage provider)
    Co-operative Bank and unions: £15.3m to Labour
    Lord Alliance: £250,000 to Lib Dems

    Lib Dem chief executive Lord Rennard said the size of the amounts owed by Labour and the Conservatives could have an impact on the health of democracy.

    He suggested that if people loaned money, rather than donated it, they could have more influence on policy as they could threaten to call in their loan if they did not agree with a particular policy.

    Conservative chairman Francis Maude said 90% of Labour's donations in the quarter had come from unions, showing "how Labour's dependence on the unions continues to grow".

    "Who knows what is being promised behind closed doors for the latest slew of cash revealed today?" he said.

    CPS file

    Labour, meanwhile, said they would be asking the Electoral Commission to examine whether loans from individuals to the Conservatives had been fairly described as being on commercial terms, if the interest charged for them was lower than that charged by banks.

    HAVE YOUR SAY
    Like the NHS, political parties will have to live within their means
    Martin, UK

     

    The cash-for-honours investigation began early this year after it was revealed the Labour Party had been given secret loans ahead of the last election, and that some of those lenders had subsequently been nominated for peerages.

    The inquiry has been widened to look at the other main parties.

    Police have spoken to 90 people, including some of Tony Blair's closest advisers, and, from the Conservative side, former leader Michael Howard.

    Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates has said he hopes to present a report to the Crown Prosecution Service in January. No-one has been charged.


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    29 November 2006
    LABOUR IN THE RED BY £27M

    LABOUR last night admitted they have "acute cash-flow problems" with debts of £27million.

    Party chiefs have even asked two wealthy backers to delay their repayment of controversial loans.

    But Sir Christopher Evans insists he wants his £1million back tomorrow, when it's due.

    The tycoon is furious at being arrested as part of Scotland Yard's loans-for-peerages inquiry.

    And £545,000 from millionaire Gordon Crawford was due to be repaid on August 29.

    Officials said the figures - revealed as details of political parties' loans and donations were published by the Electoral Commission for the first time - proved the loans were on commercial terms and the party had not broken the law.

    The commission's move follows the row over Labour and the Tories' use of secret loans.


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    Reply with quote  #74 

    PM Quizzed Over Scandal

    Updated: 14:14, Thursday December 14, 2006

    Tony Blair has been questioned by police in connection with the cash-for-honours investigation, Downing Street has said.

    The Prime Minister was not spoken to under caution.

    http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30100-1244121,00.html



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    Reply with quote  #75 


    Earthtimes.org
    Blair questioned by police in 'cash-for-honours' scandal (Roundup)
    Monsters and Critics.com, UK - Dec 14, 2006
    London - British Prime Minister Tony Blair Thursday moved to the centre of a sensitive police inquiry into party funding when he was interviewed by a ...
    Blair questioned in honours probe BBC News
    Blair questioned in cash for honours scandal RTE.ie
    Cops quiz Blair over honours Glasgow Evening Times
    Guardian Unlimited
    all 243 news articles »

     

     

    Hain questioned in honours probe
    Welsh Secretary Peter Hain
    Mr Hain was said to be at the 'periphery' of the inquiry
    Welsh and Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has been interviewed by police as part of the cash for honours inquiry, a spokesman has confirmed.

    The interview was conducted at Mr Hain's London home towards the end of last month. He was not under caution.

    Detectives asked Mr Hain about the people he has nominated for honours and the reasons for the nominations.

    Mr Hain's spokesman said the police indicated the interview was at the "periphery" of their investigation.

    Tony Blair was interviewed on Thursday at Downing Street as part of the cash-for-honours inquiry.

    Mr Hain is not thought to be connected to any of the names at the centre of the inquiry, which was prompted by a complaint by Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party after major lenders to the Labour Party were nominated for peerages.

    According to Mr Hain's spokesman, the police indicated that the interview was part of the process of understanding the nominations system.

    Downing Street said today that the Prime Minister Tony Blair was interviewed this morning as part of the inquiry.

    Mr Blair was not interviewed under caution and he was not accompanied by a lawyer, his spokesman said.

    Assistant Commissioner John Yates, of Scotland Yard, has said he expects to complete his inquiry next month.

    He will then deliver a report to the Crown Prosecution Service, who will decide whether to prosecute any individuals in connection with the affair.


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