Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Frank Timis and smack Lord Truscott

The following appeared in the most recent edition of Private Eye magazine.

What kind of man in Peter Truscott, one of the Labour lords at the centre of the Sundaty Times cash-for-amendments allegations?

Surprisingly, Truscott is working in partnership with a businessman twice convicted of possessing heroin with intent to supply. For he is a director of the Eastern Petroleum Corporation and African Minerals Ltd, both chaired and part owned by one Frank Timis (Eyes passim).

After fleeing his native Romania for Australia, Timis was convicted in 1990 for posessing heroin with intent to supply, and incurred a second heroin conviction in 1994. In 2002 the World Bank pulled out of a Timis-led attempt to dig for gold in Romania after campaigners had objected to plans to create massive cyanide-filled lakes. Then, in 2005, Timis claimed his oil firm, Regal, was sitting on a massive oil deposit off the Greek coast, and the share price soared. But the enormous reserves never appeared, investors did very badly and the London Stock Exchange is investigating to see whether there was "market abuse".

Timis probably hoped hiring a peer of the realm would bring respectability. Instead the noble lord had just brought yet more attention to Timis. Indeed, the Eye was alerted to Truscott's work with Timis by an anguished Sierra Leonean who wrote to Truscott to ask him to make sure Timis's company clears up the alleged asbestos spills on land near Freetown. As yet Truscott had not offered to help.

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