Monday, 16 July 2012


  UK admits it does hold records on secret "Rendition" base

THE Foreign Office has been accused of misleading parliament over the evidence it holds about the use a British airbase in the “extraordinary rendition” of terror suspects.

Abdelhakim Belhadj head of the Tripoli Military Council in the post revolutionary Libyan government

By Jason Lewis, Investigations Editor

The department has previously said that it had no information about whether the British base at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean was used as a key staging post for the CIA programme.

Classified documents revealed by the Sunday Telegraph earlier this year showed how British intelligence officials provided key intelligence and support for the transfer of terrorists for interrogation in Libya.

The claims centred on MI6’s role in the rendition of Abdelhakim Belhadj, a leading opponent of Col Muammar Gaddafi and then terrorist suspect, to Tripoli in March 2004, where he faced imprisonment and alleged torture.

Mr Belhadj, who is now a leading candidate in the upcoming elections in Libya, was seized in Bangkok and put on a flight which, according to the CIA flight schedule, was due to refuel in Diego Garcia, a British sovereign territory, before flying to Libya.

Flight Plan: CIA planned to use Diego Garcia airbase
However British security sources insist that the aircraft did not fly via the Indian Ocean island and Parliament was told earlier this year that no records existed about this or any other flight to the island.

But now, in a letter to Andrew Tyrie, the chairman of the All Party Group on Rendition, who asked for the records in House of Commons questions in January, the Foreign Office has admitted that, despite its earlier claims, records of flights to the island at the time do exist.

The letter from Henry Bellingham, the Foreign Office Minister responsible, confirmed the department had now located “General declarations made by arriving flights.”

He added: “These include details of owner/operator; marks of registration and nationality; flight number; date; departed from; crew numbers and sometimes names; sometimes the number of passengers but never the names.

But Mr Bellingham refused to discuss if detail of the alleged rendition was recorded in this paper work.

He wrote: “As you will be aware, since tabling your questions, the Commissioner for the British Indian Ocean Territory has been placed on notice of possible legal action...relating to allegations of rendition operations.

“Unfortunately, this means that at this time I am still unable to respond substantively to your question.”
The letter is the second time Ministers have had to admit they misled Parliament over Britain’s role in rendition.

In 2008 David Miliband, then foreign secretary, told the Commons that Diego Garcia, which campaigners claim was used as a “black site” terrorist detention centre by the Americans, had been used twice during rendition operations. He said both instances had happened in 2002 and without Britain’s knowledge.

He apologised to MPs for incorrect information previously given by his predecessor, Jack Straw, and former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who insisted it had never been used by the flights.

David Lidington, the Europe minister in the current government, reiterated the statement in a parliamentary answer last year.

Last night Andrew Tyrie, said: “Yet again we are in the position of a Minister having to correct what has been said in the past on Britain’s involvement in rendition. It is now time that there was a thorough inquiry into what role Britain played in this.”

The intelligence documents revealed by this newspaper earlier this year appeared to confirm that Britain played an active role in Mr Belhadj’s detention in 2004 and transfer to Gaddafi’s regime.

They suggests the British were the first to alert Libya that Mr Belhadj, who was wanted as head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a terrorist group outlawed by the UN over alleged links to al-Qaeda, was in custody.

It disclosed that Mr Belhadj and his pregnant wife were being held. Four days later, the Libyans were contacted by the CIA who said: “Our service is committed to rendering the terrorist … to your custody.”

Days later another secret memo, sent by the CIA, gave full breakdown of the plan to transfer him to Libya and included details of the flight plan and its scheduled refuelling stop in Diego Garcia.


Eva Rausing death: a world of drugs and paranoia in a £70m fortress

The tragic last months of Eva Rausing saw her caught in a spiral of paranoia and despair fuelled by her drug addiction, her friends have disclosed.

Eva and Hans Kristian Rausing in May 2012 (left and right)


Their property in Cadogan Place, Chelsea

By Jason Lewis, Investigations Editor

10:30PM BST 14 Jul 2012

The wife of the Tetra Pak heir, who was found dead of a suspected drug overdose on Tuesday, was tormented by fears that she and her husband, Hans Kristian Rausing, were being spied on at the London home they shared.

She had also come to believe they were being targeted by international criminal gangs in the months before her death.

Her decline has been revealed by the friends she turned to for help in uncovering what she saw as a conspiracy of “bribes, lies and sleaze” against them.

One friend, who has known the couple for more than 20 years, told The Sunday Telegraph how they had turned their £70 million home in London’s Belgravia into a virtual fortress, living in a few upstairs rooms where even their live-in servants were banned from entering.

“Eva said they believed the house was under surveillance and someone who had worked for them and who they trusted was involved. They were really spooked,” the friend said. “She didn’t know what to believe and who to trust.”

Mrs Rausing, 48, was found dead last week following a police search of the couple’s home after her husband was detained for possession of controlled drugs.

An inquest heard that her death was so far unexplained, with investigators awaiting the results of toxicology tests. Mr Rausing, 49, had been arrested on suspicion of murder, but had not yet been questioned as he was being treated for the effects of alcohol withdrawal.

Mrs Rausing’s mother, Nancy Kemeny, 72, said she believed her daughter was killed by a heart condition made worse by flights between London and California for drug treatment.

The friend of the Rausings, who had been in regular touch with the couple over many years, said they last heard from Mrs Rausing at the end of March when she had asked them to keep an eye on Mr Rausing, the son of the billionaire founder of the Tetra-Pak packaging empire.

She told her friend she was planning to “go away for a little while” and asked them to stay in touch with her husband to make sure he was all right while he was on his own. According to the friend, Mrs Rausing had said: “I really appreciate it as I worry about him and we are both very dependent on each other.”

Hans Kristian and Eva Rausing seen in May 2012 (Noble/Draper)

Mrs Rausing, a mother of four, also told her friend: “Things are not going well with Hans’ family ... it is hard to keep going sometimes.” Mr and Mrs Kemeny said their daughter had visited them in the US in April and planned to seek treatment for her addictions, but had returned to England because she was worried about her husband.

The Rausings, who were friends of the Prince of Wales and had given millions of pounds to charity, had become increasingly isolated following a long battle with addiction which saw both cautioned four years ago by Scotland Yard for drug offences.

In 2008, Mrs Rausing, who met her husband at a rehabilitation clinic, was stopped trying to take class A drugs into an event at the US Embassy in London. Heroin and cocaine were later found in a police search of their home.

The Cadogan Place property, which is two town houses knocked into one and linked by underground passageways to two mews properties, was wired to allow the couple to apparently eavesdrop on visitors arriving at their home.

The friend feared for Mrs Rausing and her husband, who had “lost all sense of night and day”. Their few visitors were often asked to come around in the dead of night.

The friend, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the couple were taking huge amounts of heroin, supplemented by cocaine and prescription painkillers including morphine. “Eva said the doses of morphine would have killed most people,” the friend said.

On one occasion another friend, who also asked not be named, said they had gone to see Mrs Rausing at 11pm earlier this year.

“Eva met me in the kitchen at Cadogan Place,” the friend said. “She confessed it was the first time she had been in the kitchen or the ground floor for several months. Apparently the servants cooked for her and Hans and then left the food on the first floor landing.”

The downstairs of the house is beautifully decorated, and adorned with art, while the basement contains a cinema. But the friend said: “It felt like nobody was home. No one really lived there.”

One of the rear mews houses is used as the Rausings’ garage. The building contains his-and-hers Ferraris, both covered in dust.

In recent months Mrs Rausing’s paranoia and fear had reached new heights. She believed that the couple were being targeted by “very, very bad people”, including people who had “done business in Russia for a very, very long time”. Eva also said she was “terrified”.

The friend said the couple feared former staff members had been paid to spy on them and that their computers and mobile phones were being “hacked”. Last week it was reported that a team of ex-SAS officers working for a security company had been keeping Mrs Rausing under surveillance in an attempt to prevent her from buying drugs.

Another friend said: “One minute Eva would trust you, tell you she loved you, the next she would accuse you of betraying her. She talked of putting a curse on me and said I would 'attract very black energy’. Then next time we spoke she would apologise.”

In more lucid moments Mrs Rausing would acknowledge her own delusions. The friend said: “One day earlier this year Eva said, 'Something is definitely not right in my own mind. Thank you for helping me to see this. I don’t like it but it is good to know that it is internal rather than external.’”

It has been suggested that Mrs Rausing may have been dead for some time. She had not been seen in public since early May and her parents last heard from her via a text message of May 3.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Hans and Eva Rausing. FROM THE ARCHIVE

Prince Charles backs Tetra Pak couple Rausings and declares 'they deserve a second chance'


UPDATED: 23:39, 9 August 2008

Prince Charles has controversially backed a multi-millionaire heiress caught with large amounts of crack and heroin, insisting she deserves a ‘second chance’.

Prosecutors dropped drug charges against Eva Rausing last month after she admitted possession of crack, heroin and cocaine.

Now Prince Charles is insisting Mrs Rausing should not be sacked from the board of one of his charities despite legal rules requiring trustees to be of good character.

Tetra Pak
Tetra Pak heir Hans Kristian Rausing and his American-born wife Eva, who was caught trying to smuggle crack and heroin into the American embassy

Mrs Rausing was caught trying to smuggle drugs into a function at the American Embassy in London.

She and her husband Hans, heir to the multi-billion-pound Tetra Pak drinks carton empire, were given a conditional caution after more drugs were found at their £10million mansion in exclusive Cadogan Place, Central London.

The decision not to prosecute them has been widely criticised and now Prince Charles, who in 2004 personally appointed Mrs Rausing as a trustee of his charity, the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, insists he wants her to continue.

Yesterday an aide to the Prince said: ‘The Prince’s charities work with young people, many of whom have had problems with drugs.

Tetra Pak heir Hans Kristian Rausing and his American-born wife Eva, who was caught trying to smuggle crack and heroin into the American embassy


‘They aim to give these people a second chance to help them rebuild their lives. It would therefore be hypocritical for the Prince not to give Eva Rausing a second chance.’

Last night the Prince’s Foundation confirmed it was backing the disgraced multi-millionairess.

Chief executive Hank Dittmar, a former adviser to President Clinton, said: ‘We support Eva Rausing in her efforts to overcome her problems and look forward to her completion of her treatment programme.

'She remains a dedicated member of the Foundation board of trustees contributing to the charity’s education work.’

A spokeswoman for the Prince at Clarence House confirmed that he was ‘backing the

charity’s decision’.

But last night Labour MP Ian Davidson attacked Prince Charles’s support for the Rausings.

He said: ‘There is every difference between a mature adult being involved in cocaine abuse and impoverished youngsters getting involved with drugs.

‘Prince Charles’s stance strengthens the view that the casual use of drugs by members of society and the Establishment is acceptable and that when they are caught they face no consequences.’

The Foundation is particularly close to Prince Charles’s heart. It promotes environmentally friendly architecture and design, and is the force behind Poundbury, his model town in Dorset.

Other objectives include improvements in public health and ‘safer streets’.

But the decision to allow Eva Rausing to stay on its board of trustees is a controversial one.

According to the Charity Commission, ‘trustees of charities working with children or vulnerable adults should also make additional, more detailed checks . . . to ensure both that the person they wish to appoint as a trustee is eligible and to ensure the safety of the charity’s beneficiaries’.

The controversy comes after the Crown Prosecution Service agreed to drop the prosecution of the Rausings in return for the couple admitting their guilt and agreeing to a strict treatment regime and regular drugs tests.

Conditional cautions were issued to the couple last week after correspondence between the CPS and the Rausings’ lawyers.

Typically, addicts caught with similar quantities of drugs face a prison sentence.

A ‘conditional caution’ differs from a simple caution in that the offender must comply with certain conditions to receive the caution and to avoid prosecution for the offence they have committed.

Mr Rausing stands to inherit the £5.4billion Tetra Pak empire built up by his Swedish father, also named Hans, who also lives in Britain.

The family are said to have the seventh-largest fortune in Britain.

The Rausings’ properties include a £50million estate in Barbados and a 3,000-acre retreat in East Sussex.

Mr and Mrs Rausing have contributed huge sums to addiction charities, and Mr Rausing was long believed to have dabbled in drugs.

But only after Mrs Rausing’s arrest did it become public that both were addicted to crack and heroin.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Banking crisis

RBS fights to keep its Libor records secret

Royal Bank of Scotland is fighting a court order requiring it to co-operate with an international criminal investigation into allegations its staff fixed a key banking lending rate.

The move represents a potential political embarrassment with George Osborne, the Chancellor, potentially facing questions over why a bank ultimately controlled by the Treasury, is attempting to resist international law enforcement investigations into the practice

By Jason Lewis, Investigations Editor, and Glenn Johnson in Ottawa

7:00AM BST 08 Jul 201243
RBS, the partly-nationalised bank, is one of a number of institutions being investigated for possible rigging of Libor, the inter-bank interest rate, a probe which last week saw high street rivals Barclays fined £290m and Bob Diamond, its chief executive, forced to resign.

Now it can be revealed that RBS is battling a court ruling to hand over confidential internal documents which could contain evidence that its traders were also actively involved in the manipulation of the inter bank rate.

RBS has been resisting for more than a year investigators pursuing documents which allegedly detail wrongdoing by its staff.

The move represents a potential political embarrassment with George Osborne, the Chancellor, potentially facing questions over why a bank ultimately controlled by the Treasury, is attempting to resist international law enforcement investigations into the practice.

Asenior Canadian judge has ordered the bank, and several of its rivals to hand over evidence to investigators from the Canadian Competition Bureau, a law enforcement agency which protects the country’s business and money markets from fraud.

The court order was issued after a whistleblower revealed how a group of international bankers based in London had manipulated the Libor governing inter bank lending in Yen, the Japanese currency.

The papers suggest that the group used emails and instant messaging to communicate artificially high or low bids, but RBS, apparently alone among the banks under investigation, has instructed its lawyers to fight the order to release these files.

Court papers name eight London-based bankers based on the testimony of a former colleague working for a rival bank.

Both the unnamed witness, known in the documents as “Trader A”, and his employers, believed to be Swiss bank UBS, have been granted immunity from prosecution in return for their testimony.

In all the Canadian case, which has not yet filed charges against any of the banks or individuals, has named six banks as being involved in fixing the Yen Libor rate.

As well as RBS, the papers feature claims against London-based bankers from HSBC, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and UBS.

RBS is the only bank involved in the Canadian court challenge, according to the court documents.

The Libor affair, described by the prime minister as a scandal, has led to the resignation of three of Barclays’ most senior executives, including chief executive Bob Diamond.

According to the court papers t Canada’s Competition Bureau is examining whether the bankers “conspired to enhance unreasonably the price of interest rate derivatives from 2007 to March 11, 2010 … conspired to prevent or lessen, unduly, competition in the purchase, sale, or supply of interest rate derivatives”.

An affidavit from Brian Elliott, a competition law officer, named two senior RBS interest rate differential traders, Brent Davies and Will Hall, both based in London, who he said were involved in the attempts to manipulate the Libor rate.

He told the court “both were registered by the Royal Bank of Scotland PLC and with the Financial Services Authority during the time of the transactions”.

FSA records show that both men are no longer registered as regulated approved traders.

The other accused bankers include Peter O’Leary, an executive at HSBC, Stuart Wiley and Paul Glands from JP Morgan, and Guillaume Adolph, from Deutsche Bank.

The papers alleged there were agreements to “submit artificially high or artificially low Libor submissions in order to impact the Yen Libor interest rates published by the British Bankers Association. This was done for the purpose of adjusting the price of financial instruments that use Yen Libor rates as a basis.”

Mr Elliot told the Court: “The Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC...are believed to possess documents related to the investigation under way into the Yen Libor inquiry and have employees involved in the alleged offences.”

But earlier this year RBS, through its Canadian subsidiary, filed papers objecting to the court order to produce the evidence the Competition Bureau requested and asked the court to quash an order requiring it to comply.

RBS’s Canadian lawyers told the court the bank should not be required to produce confidential records under Canada’s Competition Act, claiming part of the law violated the constitution of Canada.

Royal Bank of Scotland (Canada) was ordered early in 2011 to hand over records related to any trading of Yen Libor. But in court documents, Canadian employees of the bank maintain the records are under the control of UK bank officials and that the Canadians do not have access to any of those records.

A lawyer for the bank has asked the court to quash the order to turn over financial records, claiming they are protected under British privacy laws.

In a letter to the court, lawyers for RBS also asked for assurances that any records obtained in Canada would not be used against the Canadian arm of the bank in any future criminal investigations. Public prosecutors refused to give those assurances.

Last night a spokesman for RBS said: "RBS is cooperating with regulators in their investigations. We want to cooperate with the CCB and have proposed ways to do that which allow us to comply with our English legal obligations."