Saturday, October 25, 2008

News of the World: Mandelson to be Investigated

Jamie Lyons in tomorrow's News of the World has a huge exclusive on Peter Mandelson's activities in Brussels and his relationship with Oleg Deripaska. He alleges that Mandelson was due to meet him again in Moscow this week, but the meeting has been cancelled in the light of recent events. He also reveals that an investigation into his links to Deripaska is about to be launched by a top Brussels watchdog. Here's an extract from the News of the World story...

PETER Mandelson faces an investigation over his links with a super-rich French aristocrat, the News of the World can reveal. A top Brussels watchdog last week made an official complaint to the head of the European Commission that private equity tycoon Ernest-Antoine Seilliere had privileged access to Mandy when he was EU trade chief. It comes as Mandelson is already under pressure over claims he was too close to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska who may have benefited from his rulings as EU trade czar. The EU watchdog that made the fresh complaint says Seilliere was effectively allowed to write trade laws - benefiting his clients - during a string of meetings with Mandy. Now a top Euro MP is demanding a review of all the decisions made by Mandelson before he quit Brussels this month. In a letter to Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso the Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) says: “We would like to express our concern over the privileged access and undue influence.” It claims Mandelson broke EU codes on impartiality by getting so close to Seilliere...

CEO has put together a damning 6,700-word dossier - seen by the News of the World - blasting Mandelson’s links with the group. Mandelson was officially rebuked last year after the CEO complained he had refused to reveal details of meetings with industrial lobbyists. CEO now claim Seilliere’s group helped Mandelson write controversial new laws which benefited its members.
And it says Mandelson routinely shared valuable information on trade negotiations with it.
CEO says they were so close Mandelson has let the group use his official Brussels HQ - free of charge - for a conference where they will rub shoulders with some of the most powerful politicians in Europe...

At the same time Swedish Euro MP Jens Holm, a member of the European Parliament's trade committee, has written to Mandelson's replacement, Catherine Ashton, asking her to reverse several decisions Mandy took. He said: "It's well known here in Brussels that BusinessEurope and its top people have had an intimate relationship with Mr Mandelson. “They were always tipped off at an early stage whenever there was a new EU directive being written on competitiveness or trade or other issues.”...

Mandelson has cancelled a meeting with Deripaska next week. The Russia trip was originally planned for his predecessor as Business Secretary, John Hutton, before he changed jobs.
And the delegation was scheduled to meet the Russian oligarch. But it has now been called off.
A spokesman for the department said: “As is usual in the preparation for visits there are changes to the itinerary and meetings are regularly added to or drop off the agenda."

On the face of it there is no direct link between Business Europe and Mr Deripaska. Should one be uncovered, however, that would lead to a whole new ball game. Interesting how the focus has now shifted from George Osborne back to Peter Mandelson, isn't it? Not before time.

39 comments:

Auntie Flo' said...

I could kiss Jamie Lyons for this. A brilliant piece of journalism.

Thank God for Jamie Lyons and the News Of The World!

David Cameron, please consider Jamie Lyons for a medal once you're Prime Minister.

Anonymous said...

A Brussels watchdog? Gosh - they must be busy. If they have prioritised a complaint about Mandleson it must be a good one.

Arkangel said...

Don't you just love it when it all comes together?

Anonymous said...

Scoopathon !! Will have to buy the Sunday Telegraph tomorrow - it is the only paper large enough to guarantee comfortably hiding the 'News of the Screws' inside as one leaves the newsagent..

David Boothroyd said...

Who exactly are the 'Corporate Europe Observatory' who is pushing this? They're hardly mainstream. Two of their team of researchers, Belén Balanyá and Olivier Hoedeman, co-authored a 2003 book with George Monbiot. Oliver Shykles was producer of a 2004 Greg Palast conspiracy theory video about the Bush family wealth.

CEO is a fringe group with no official standing main purpose is opposing lobbyists. They are not the "top Brussels watchdog" portrayed in the News of the Screws piece.

The Lakelander said...

Iain,

The guilty parties are already trying to cover their tracks.

I have it on good authority that the Queen K is in the process of being re-named.

Trust me on this one...

Anonymous said...

Following the 'Shock and Awe' maybe the 'insurgency' has started...

Although I suspect Murdoch is not going to pi$$ off the Government too much, unless he is trying a 'Let me take over ITV and the stream of $h!t will stop..'

But do any of these 'amateurs' know what they are getting into taking on the likes of Deripaska ? Judging a man by the 'company he keeps' might be a wise investment in their time...

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

I detect that Mandelson has made enemies in Europe, just as he made enemies here, and no doubt for similar reasons. When the shit hits the fan, watch out for dozens of loyal friends, especially from the Labour party, rallying round to support him.

Or not.

As the case may be.

Anonymous said...

Is it too early for unrestrained glee?
Can my joy be unconfined yet?
Can things really get better?
Please?

Auntie Flo' said...

This sickens me, Iain. While UK's SME's have been struggling under the EU and Brown's huge mountain of ill conceived and negligently drafted bureaucracy and red tape, if this report is correct, the giant corporates have been getting
"privileged access and undue influence", tip offs and consultations about how they would like regulations to be structured?

Little wonder then that so much of the legislation coming out of Brussels is so anti-SME and so punitively discriminatory in its treatment of SMEs v its treatment of corporate giants.

Take the discriminatory system of penalties and fines alone. Why, under the regulations, is a corner shop, for example, obliged to pay the same £10,000 penalty that a multi billion giant corporation would have to pay for, say, making an error in its compliance with the complex Asylum & Immigration, Prevention of Illegal Working Act?

Because the regulations are designed to penalise SMEs and favour the giants who have the right contacts in the EU or government? And these regulations are designed to put SMEs out of business?

The punitive powers in respect of parking restrictions that the government has given local authorities certainly seem to be designed to destroy SMEs and to drive more trade into the corporate giants' free car parks too.

The EU and Nulabour once again demonstrate that they detest the little people and their only real loyalty is to big money.

Anonymous said...

But what if 'Derek Pascoe' starts to think that it is all Mandy's fault, and that if he had not 'dripped pure poison' about poor old Gordon 'none of this would ever have happened'..

And one can only guess at what happens to guys who incur Oleg's wrath...

Anonymous said...

Is this old Rupe stamping his feet because BSkyB had to sell their stake in ITV ??

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Iain, as much as I like to see Mandy swinging from the first lamp-post of 644 I have lined up (before the novelty wears off) I cant help but feel that this is actually an attack on the one thing that Mandelson actually did that was useful: standing up to protectionist Euroweenies. I suspect that this is what Jens Holm is moaning about.

Or as David Boothroyd says, it could just be a complete load of MSM fabricated cockwaffle.

Word verification: bumper. No, really!

Wight Tory said...

A couple of observations.

1. Whilst nothing conclusive (yet) the most dangerous word is the last one. Mandys obsession, for getting the last one has (I hope) provided the "twist" in his knifing mentality, sadly for him as many youths find out, that the knife carrier often have their weapon of choice turned against them.

2. Murdoch. I think that he's started to climb the fence, he's certainly closer than he has been for many a year. Time is coming to see how he's gonna go, the meeting with Cameron IMO is the first step with this. We know the Murdoch approval, is a huge + to winning an election. He isn't stupid though, despite his influence, he does recognise that the public can see through Brown and Co, a Murdoch agenda to knife the Tories, does go against the real pain suffered by the UK public, his papers might move the electorate to get a hung parliment, does he want that? I'd say, in his world, anything but would suit him.

A last point would be to remind the Tories that nothing should be taken for granted, squeeky clean is the only way to not go through a week like the last again-look and learn should be DC's message to the party. He should also stick the boot in at PMQ's. Pick a subject, drive home the message for no more than four question and the remaining questions should be attacking questions that are only asked once. The viewers it seems, don't like 6 questions to be on one subject.A broad sword does more damage than the elegent, clean wounding stilletto. Brown is a bruiser, he'll take prodding questions like a pin-cushion, a blunt and heavy bashing is what's needed to take him and his mob down.

Jim said...

Suspend your critical faculties, why don't you?

What has this to do with Deripaska? You lot are clutching at straws.

Osborne's made a fool of himself. Live with it and move on.

Anonymous said...

ps chaps/es

have you seen Sky - it's just got
a 'debunk' on the NOTW story. i.e all clear.

sad you are clinging to the french for a anti-peter wotsit.

the more this stays in the news the more vunerable george osbourne becomes, as the ecomomic turmoil continues 'no one is listening to him any more'. Expect the tory poll figures to goto under 40 by december.

john miller said...

A Brussels watchdog? WTF??? Are you sure that's not someone from Gardners world who tells you when to pick 'em? What use would a Brussels watchdog be? And who would have put the advert in for the job in the first place?

No, it must be like the square root of minus one, a purely imaginary thing that enables someone to sleep at night, content that there is a theory that can deal with everything, even if it doesn't really exist...

john miller said...

Oh, and another thing, I think the MSM, having ben worked up into a feeding frenzy, will turn their attention to the possibility of outing Mandy for a record third time. I don't think they will succeed, but they will establish the limits of his power in his new position having, like everyone connected with the EU, indulged in many dodgy practices within that most dodgy of institutions.

Anonymous said...

If this is the worst the Sunday papers have on Mandy then he is in the clear. Its pretty desperate stuff. BusinessEurope is the Brussells equivalent of the CBI (who are its UK member body). Its been around for 50 years. They are pro-business, pro free-trade and pro single-market. Corporate Europe Observatory are not even Brussells-based. They are a fringe group based in Amsterdam pursuing an anti free-trade, anti-business, anti single-market agenda. Their main funder appears to be the Isvara Foundation, who also fund Friends of the Earth. The Swedish MP quoted describes himself as 'Nordic Green Left'. Of course they don't like Mandelson.

norman said...

Anon 9:10PM

Peter? Oh, you mean Lord Sleaze?
Hello Dolly!
I heard that journalists are working on Lord Sleaze's Russian connection.
Wait until the funding scandal of hid £2.4 million home comes out in 2009.

ruth kelly's plaything said...

On 3rd October, just after his appointment, the odds offered on Mandy's premature resignation were 10/1. (£50 then would look now like a sound investment.) What price today? It must have shortened. I've tried all the obvious sites but can find nothing. Can anyone help?


PS Iain: comment on Brown's 'backing' of Mandy, please? (Sir Humphrey used to say that's the time to start worrying - I do hope so.)

Anonymous said...

The Best thing about all this is that Gordon went on public record today standing by Mandelson.

After all these years when Gordon was rightly agin Mandy, Brown now calls for Mandelson's help in a last ditch attempt to save his skin and Mandelson's past scuppers the both of them. Hoorrah.

Houdini said...

Mandelson is called the master of the dark arts of spin etc. but let's be honest, he just isn't very good at it is he?

He has tried to besmirch Osborne, who I don't think is guilty of even having questionable judgement, and Mandelson has now come out worse.

Anyone with half a braincell in his position would keep his stupid mouth shut, but oh no, not Mandy. Even Brown, with all those sleazy skeletons in the cupboard, couldn't keep his mouth shut.

The situation is one you couldn't make up and is a real gift to the Tories. Mandelson is once again in the shit and likely to have to resign, after trying to implicate someone else. The Tories have come out looking, and being, the victims of dirty tricks, and even Brown has ended up implicated!

Mandelon the master of the dark arts of spin? He is a sleazy, money grubbing incompetent little turd and a joke.

Summer said...

"If this is the worst the Sunday papers have on Mandy then he is in the clear."

Don't be silly anon - Mandy comes with a reputation. He'd be guilty by association even if he was in the clear.

"as the ecomomic turmoil continues Expect the tory poll figures to goto under 40 by december."

Listen matey, I was on a train from Cardiff to Manchester last night. I'd never heard so many different conversations between strangers on the train before - what was the discussion - the economic situation. Who was getting the blame: Gordon. Quite made my night!!

Tories up around 50% come early 09!!

Anonymous said...

Just for a moment I thought the Labour attack dogs were all at church.

But no... here they are crawling out of the gutter again. So the world has settled bacl on its axis.

Silly me!

Anonymous said...

There is an even bigger pair of tits than Gordon and Mandy in the NOTW this week.

I've got Britain's biggest boobs but want to cut 'M' off

Peter said...

The more they dig the better it gets....
It looks like the Telegraph is the paper to buy in the morning?
Happy dreams Mandy!!!

Alex said...

I can exclusively reveal that M.Ernest-Antoine Seilliere de Laborde is in fact not an aristocrat, he just has a name that makes him sound like he is one. Furthermore, the sinister business organisation that he chairs is nothing more than a front organisation for several industrial and commercial groups throughout Europe. In the UK it is represented by the shady organisation known to some as the CBI, operating out of the sleazier end of Oxford Street, from a premises usually referred to simply as Centre Point.

In other news I can also reveal that God grants privileged access to a strangely attired bearded gentleman who commutes between north Kent and his lavish opalace on the south bank of the Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament. For reasons which are not entirely clear, but which appear to form part of a longstandng arrangement, this gentleman and his cronies have ex-officio access to the UK legislature where they are often involved in the review of draft legislation.

Anonymous said...

Like a football manager, Gordon has pulled Mandy off (Ooh, get you!) before he got the red card from Brussels.
Dig deep, friendly hacks and get to the bottom of Mandy.
Altogether now: "Ooh, get you!

MB said...

What are the odds now on how long before he has to resign, someone must be taking bets on it.

Martin said...

I'm sure the BBC will come to the defence of Mandy. How about a Caroline Spelman story?

jingouk said...

Uneasy feeling bout all of this. When the Soviet Union collapsed many KGB,NKVD etc people eventually joined organised crime which was rife. It eventually managed to stabilise the economy which the EU had not been able to do.

Now it seems that a hybrid basically runs Russia. The UK was used as a killing ground utilising nuclear material. Was the UK blackmailed - was the point of the murder not just the target?

Now, everywhere Russian oligarchs - some banned from entering the USA have our politicians and key shadowy international financiers, falling over themselves to get closer.

How independent are the EU institutions - have they been penetrated - is something very old-fashioned going on here?

Jess The Dog said...

I wonder if the French will wield the knife, perhaps calling for another European Commission investigation. They have a massive grudge....will the scalp of Mandy outweigh any reluctance to embrace the principles of accountability and scrutiny?

javelin said...

The problem with Mandy coming back into the cabinet is that over the past 10 years the media has wised up to his tricks. It was fustrating to see so many professional journalists take so long to get to grips with New Labour's new management. But Sophie's performance shows that clearly they have. What is significant is that she has set a benchmark that old-school interviewers lik Marr and Robinson must now be judged by.

Alex said...

Does anyone know the betting odds on Mandy's tenure in the Labour cabinet this (his 3rd) time around?

He may survive this episode, but another story is sure to finish him off.

Auntie Flo' said...

javelin,

Very true. Sophie Raweth and the clued up sections of the press have seen through Mandelson's dark arts alright.

Those journalists who haven't, or who have their own reasons for uncritical regurgitation of what the spin machine spews out, need to rethink sharpish or be judged accordingly - by the people.

The BBC was deluged with an overwhelming number of anti-Mandelson and pro-Osborne comments from a broad spectrum of people right across UK during the recent BBC Have Your Say topic on this. I posted the first page of 'most recommended on Iain's site a few days ago.

And that was, of course, prior to the recent revelations of the investigation into Mandelson.

People out here are mighty sick of Mandelson, Brown and nulab spin. There's going to be one huge backlash against them for this.

Anonymous said...

"I've got Britain's biggest boobs but want to cut 'M' off "

A quote from Gordon brown about Mandy?

africanmum said...

The Mandy story is somewhat overshadowed by the Osbourne story in the NOTW. Sadly, voters are more likely to remember awful things in the story like the Bullingdon members snorting coke and treating women abominably, including spitting at some girls they'd picked up. I really wish Tories would be hard headed realists and dump Osbourne before he drags everyone down with him.

Richard Holloway said...

The BBC is rather quiet on this don't you think...