Thursday, May 19, 2005

UK Labour Party corruption

Private Eye's greatest days were in the 1970's when they tried to find out whether or not the Prime Minister was a spy for Israel (or the KGB.)

Harold Wilson was President of the Board of Trade (a government minister) from 1947-51.

The few people who could get permission from the Board of Trade to import heavily rationed raw materials or finished goods were in a good position to become vastly rich.

Among the lucky few who got licenses were Montague Meyer, Joe Kagan and Rudy Sternberg. Kagan and Sternberg later became peers.

Meyer gave Wilson a consultancy which took him on frequent trips to Moscow and Eastern Europe.

After the 'mysterious' death of Hugh Gaitskell, Wilson became Labour leader and eventually Prime Minister.

Harold Wilson's 'private office' was funded in secret by a wealthy group which included Lord Goodman, Sir Samuel Fisher, and Rudy Sternberg.

In the 1970's, Private Eye began to receive information of a possible link betwee n Wilson and the Israeli secret service and the KGB.

Much of this information may have come from people within MI5.

In connection with alleged plots, the names of various people were handed to Private Eye.

Labour MP Ian Mikardo had at one time partnered Leslie Paisner in a business that traded with East Germany.

Mikardo's pair in the House of Commons was Barnaby Drayson who worked for Rudy Sternberg, as did Wilfred Owen MP who had resigned after being revealed as a spy for Czechoslovakia.

Montague Meyer, it turned out, was the man who had bought up much of the timber felled in Tanganyika during Labour's ill-fated groundnut scheme.

Then there was Labour MP Edward Short 'who had been in the habit of receiving bundles of banknotes from T Dan Smith', the city boss of Newcastle and one time partner of Eric Levine.

Kagan was a frequent visitor to Downing Street. He was also on friendly terms with the station chief of the Russian KGB. After being questioneded by the police about tax and currency offences he eventually 'fled' to Israel, where perhaps his real allegiance lay.

Sir Rudy Sternberg was also under investigation by the security services.

The "Donnygate" Labour Party corruption case, March 2002, was the worst local government corruption case since the 1970s.

Two senior Labour Party councillors in Doncaster, South Yorkshire and a property developer were sentenced to a total of 11 years in jail.

The case has been described as the tip of a vast pyramid of corruption.

Doncaster Labour Party corruption involved:

1. councillors taking expenses for foreign trips
2. councillors buying racehorses
3. embezzlement reportedly running into millions
4. 74 arrests
5. 23 Labour councillors convicted for expenses fraud

In neighbouring Labour Party-dominated Rotherham council:
1. Rotherham councillors set up an initiative to deal with the town’s poverty
2. Appointed officials received salaries of up to £100,000
3. The organisation failed to draw up a single working policy to combat poverty.


Martin Wainwright wrote about corruption in the Guardian, 24 March 1999.

According to Wainwright: "Labour's 'Doncaster mafia' used the same tactics that had won power for the left within some trade unions in order to take over the council, then set about distributing power and financial rewards through its apparatus of committee chairmanships."

Is Doncaster typical? Jack Riley, jailed for claiming false expenses, told Doncaster magistrates: 'It was standard practice.'

Six Labour councillors resigned in Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire in 2001 over planning misadventures.

The ex-Labour leader of Wakefield Council and two colleagues have been arrested

The Labour deputy leader of Rotherham plus two officers have been arrested.

The Poulson scandal in the early Seventies involved bribes, building contracts in London, the Midlands and the North-east and backstairs planning permission.

It led to the conviction of Yorkshire architect John Poulson, senior civil servant George Pottinger and a number of local politicians and officials, including two top Labour councillors, T.Dan Smith, ex-leader of Newcastle City Council, and Andrew Cunningham, chairman of Durham County Council.

The Prime Minister made Paul Drayson a lord, six weeks before he gave the party £505,000, Electoral Commission accounts reveal.

Lord Drayson donated £100,000 while his firm Powderject made £20million as the Government's only supplier of the smallpox vaccine.

Powderject received a £32m contract for smallpox vaccine without normal competitive tendering, shortly after donating to Labour.

In the Steelgate affair it was revealed that billionaire Lakshmi Mittal had donated £125,000 to Labour party funds prior to receiving Mr Blair's backing for his takeover of the Romanian Sidex steel plant.

The Indian Hinduja brothers were allegedly involved in bribery in connection with defence contracts and applied for British passports in order to try and avoid extradition to India.

November 1997: Gopichand Hinduja is given a UK passport.

March 1999: Srichand Hinduja receives his UK passport.

19 January 2001: The Hinduja brothers appear in court in India in connection with an arms scandal dating back to 1986. The brothers are accused of criminal conspiracy and bribery in connection with the purchase of field guns by India from the Swedish company Bofors. They are bailed.

20 January 2001: In response to enquiries from The Observer Mr Mandelson says about a Hinduja request for a passport: "This matter was dealt with by my private secretary ... I did not support or endorse this application for citizenship."

Mr Campbell tells reporters that Mr Mandelson phoned Mr O'Brien to inquire if Srichand's passport application would be re-considered.

Mr Campbell concedes he had made statements on the issue to reporters which were "plainly not true", and all but publicly accuses Mr Mandelson of misleading him.

January 2001: Mr Mandelson resigns from the government.


Paul Foot wrote:

"Geoffrey Robinson, Blair's first Paymaster General, ... has now been found to have been a beneficiary of the generous crook Robert Maxwell--to the tune of £200,000, no less, the cheque which Robinson just cannot find.

"Robinson's connections with the accountants Arthur Andersen, which raised funds for New Labour, have been exposed in a recent book by Tom Bower, just in time for the Enron scandal. Enron went bust last year in a spectacular bankruptcy caused by various imaginative accounting devices dreamed up by Andersen.

"From 1994 to 1996 Andersen's sister company employed Patricia Hewitt, a rising star in New Labour, and cooperated generously with New Labour before and after the 1997 election. Its main aim in life--to remove the ban on it imposed by the former Tory government because of its dishonesty over the DeLorean scandal--was achieved within seven months of New Labour coming to office."


A Labour Party MP and financial backer of the Labour Party was Robert Maxwell

Robert Maxwell, Mossad, Pension theft, Pensions

Politicians - Tessa Jowell, Cathy Jamieson, Michael Howard....



The Sunday Times, 30 May 30 1993, reported on financial scandals and rackets in the London borough of Lambeth.

Confidential papers obtained by The Sunday Times revealed massive fraud and mismanagement in the Labour-controlled borough.


1. Charged thousands of times the real cost for repairs and maintenance.

2. Altered or destroyed documents to allow unnecessary, unauthorised or fictitious work to be billed to the authority. Papers relating to millions of pounds of public money are missing.

3. Handed out £2m of work for the environment department's homelessness initiative programme to "a small select list" of contractors, without tenders and on the say-so of one council officer.

The government's District Audit Service issued a "public interest" report accusing the council of unlawfully misdirecting more than £20m.

Paul Claydon, the district auditor, spent two years investigating Lambeth.

In one instance, a repair to a wall had a correct price of £184.30, and a special Lambeth price of £8,573.54. In another, a £33.86 job to replace ceramic tiles was billed at £1,055.62. One item which rightfully should have cost £7.26 was billed for £10,204.74.


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