No 9,792 MAY 13, 2012
‘THEY WERE BOTH WILD. HARRY WAS JUST THE ONE WHO GOT CAUGHT’
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Prince gifted £320,000 by Russian oligarch David Leppard THE Queen’s cousin Prince Michael of Kent has received payments of at least £320,000 from a Russian oligarch. The 56 payments — varying from £5,000 to £15,000 and spread over a period of six years — were made to the prince by a fund controlled by Boris Berezovsky, the exiled multimillionaire. They supplemen-
ted financial help given to the prince by the Queen. Documents disclosed in a forthcoming High Court case reveal that the money was funnelled between 2002 and 2008 through offshore companies into a family business owned by Michael’s private secretary. The disclosure of such large cash payments could raise questions about the prince’s judg-
ment, as Berezovsky is one of the most controversial foreign businessmen living in Britain. The bearded prince, a fluent Russian speaker, is a distant relation of Nicholas II, the last tsar — whom he resembles — and is well known in Russia. Berezovsky, who made a fortune from oil during the Russian privatisations of the 1990s, has been an arch critic of President Vladimir Putin
since obtaining asylum in Britain in 2003. The Russian government unsuccessfully tried to extradite him to Moscow where a court found him guilty in absentia of embezzling £4.4m from Aeroflot, the airline to which he has been linked financially. Berezovsky said his Kremlin enemies had trumped up the charge. Sources close to him
and Michael gave conflicting accounts of the purpose of the payments. One said the money may have helped to pay for expenses related to the running of Michael’s grace-and-favour apartment in Kensington Palace. Another claimed it went to cover the cost of staff in the prince’s private office. In a statement the oligarch said the payments were
FREED FROM ZIMBABWEAN HELL-HOLE DWAYNE SENIOR
Robin Hammond, a Sunday Times photographer, is welcomed home by his girlfriend Aude Barbera in Paris
yesterday after being held in two Zimbabwean jails for more than three weeks. He was shackled, paraded naked
and forced to share a cell with 38 others. He said he felt “as if I was in one of my own photographs”. Full story, page 3
End to cheap booze with 50p unit SCOTTISH consumers are to be charged up to 25% more for alcohol than they would have pay in England under plans to curb binge drinking, writes Jason Allardyce. Nicola Sturgeon, the health minister, is to announce a 50p per unit minimum price tomorrow, heralding an end to cheap and lossleading drink offers. It is in response to evidence that the bill for the crime, health costs
and absenteeism that are linked to excessive drinking is costing Scots £3.6 billion a year. Ministers, who believe Scotland’s problems with alcohol are worse than other parts of Britain, have been particularly concerned that shops can sell super-strength beer and lager for less than the price of water. A 50p unit price is backed by health professionals but will be
firmly resisted by some drinks manufacturers, who may mount a legal challenge to the policy, claiming it will hit poorest drinkers the hardest. It could double the cost of a £10 pack of lager and of a bottle of vodka to £20. The minimum price for a bottle of wine will become £4.50. Scottish ministers initially floated the idea of a 40p minimum unit price, which remains the pref-
erence of David Cameron’s government. However, critics claim that would be too low to have much impact, allowing beer and lager to continue to be available in supermarkets at “pocket money” prices. Campaigners believe a 50p per unit minimum could save many more lives by arresting alcoholrelated death rates, which have doubled in Scotland in the period since the early 1990s.
designed to help the prince, who has often struggled financially. The first payment coincided with a political row in 2002 after it emerged that Michael and his wife were paying rent of £69 a week for their Kensington Palace apartment. MPs ruled that the taxpayer should not have to pick up the bill and demanded the couple’s eviction from the fivebedroom home that they had
occupied as a perk since their marriage in 1978. The Queen responded by agreeing to pay the market equivalent rent of £100,000 a year. Mark Hastings, Berezovsky’s solicitor, said this weekend that the Russian “has never sought or obtained any benefit or service from his friendship with Prince Michael”. Secret cash funnelled to pauper prince, page 13
Tycoon: Scots are addicted to welfare Jason Allardyce ONE of Scotland’s best known entrepreneurs has warned that the nation must overcome its dependency on welfare, claiming that benefits are corrupting the nation’s work ethic. Sir Tom Hunter argues that an overreliance on benefits has made many Scots “pampered” people who “expect what others strive and graft hard for”. While Scotland’s first home-grown billionaire stresses that welfare must always be available to the most vulnerable, he writes in The Sunday Times that “the pendulum of support has swung too far”. In a wide-ranging article Hunter also urges opponents of Scottish independence to stop scaremongering, claiming it makes Scots more likely to secede from the UK. He also criticised Alex Salmond’s opponents for seeking to bring forward the timetable for the independence referendum, warning that rushing the vote without proper debate “doesn’t suit democracy”. Hunter’s welfare warning came after it emerged that an area of Glasgow’s east end is the benefits capital of Britain, with almost nine out of 10 working–age adults claiming some form of welfare payment. Glasgow East has the highest benefits cost per person of any constituency in Britain, with unemployment, sickness and child benefit payments now amounting to £5 a day for every adult and child.
Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, has taken a close interest in the city’s plight. It helped inspire his welfare reforms which aim to use benefits as a safety net to help people back to work rather than a poverty trap encouraging them to stay at home. Last month, it was disclosed that more than half of those on sickness benefits across parts of Scotland are being told they are fit to work as the coalition attempts to cut £16 billion from Britain’s benefits bill. “The fact is the welfare state has simply enabled us to become pampered, dependent people who expect what others strive and graft hard for,” said Hunter, who is chairman of West Coast Capital. “Recently I returned from a trip to China where the palpable ambition and confidence of its people just about floored me — instead of gloom they saw boom, opportunity at every corner. Asked what they feared most, the response was unremitting — the corrupting influence of the welfare state on ambition and the work ethic. In China they graft to pay their way — there is no other route.” Hunter, whose philanthropic foundation works to alleviate poverty and raise educational standards, added: “Before anyone has me confined as a right-wing zealot, I am not advocating for one moment that we do not need the welfare state. “For those most vulnerable, most in Continued on page 3 W W
Bombs ‘inside terrorists’ SNP pledge on regiment names David Leppard and Dipesh Gadher WESTERN intelligence agencies believe doctors working with Al-Qaeda in Yemen have been trained to plant explosives inside the bodies of suicide bombers. The medics can place explosive compounds in the abdomens and breasts of suicide bombers to evade airport security and bring down passenger aircraft. A doctor who had devised procedures to plant explosives inside terrorists was killed by a CIA drone earlier this year.
He is believed to have worked with Ibrahim al-Asiri, the top bomb maker of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Intelligence officials believe a small number of other doctors are working with Asiri. The CIA wants to identify and hunt them down. “This is a transferable skill and there is still some concern,” said a western security official who spoke anonymously. Experts say explosive compounds such as PETN (pentaerythritol tetranitrate) could be implanted into a would-be suicide bomber and the wounds allowed to heal. The
body scanner used in most international airports would not be able to detect the device, which can be detonated by injection. With the destruction of AlQaeda’s core leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan, AQAP is said by MI6 and the CIA to pose the most dangerous threat to the West. Last week it emerged western agencies had planted a double agent inside AQAP. The group gave him a new type of bomb, which the agent passed to western handlers. The most dangerous man in the world, Focus, page 17
Isabel Oakeshott and Jason Allardyce SCOTLAND’S historic regiment names will be saved if Scots vote for independence, the SNP has pledged. The nationalists have promised to keep iconic titles such as the Black Watch which the Westminster government wants to replace with battalion numbers. The commitment could boost the chances of a Yes vote in the 2014 independence referendum given the deep connections between many Scottish communities and the regiments.
David Cameron has been under growing pressure to overrule Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, who is behind the cost-cutting plans, first disclosed by The Sunday Times in February. Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Westminster leader and defence spokesman, warned that scrapping the regimental names would be “the ultimate betrayal of Scotland’s historic units” and go against previous Tory promises to reinstate Scottish army units. He said: “The decimation of Scotland’s conventional defence capacity under succes-
sive Westminster governments cannot go unchallenged — enough is enough. “With independence, we will keep the current unit names and tradition — and should the worst happen and these units be scrapped by the Tories, an SNP government in an independent Scotland will reinstate them as part of a modern, properly equipped, conventional Scottish defence force.” Robertson added: “Instead of the anti-independence parties scrapping Scotland’s regimental tradition and dumping Trident on Scotland,
with independence we will keep the historic units and get rid of Trident.” Jeff Duncan, who managed the 2005 campaign to save threatened Scottish regiments, said that the issue had undermined the case for maintaining the union. Duncan, who is at the heart of the restarted campaign, said: “I think Alex Salmond is the only politician who doesn’t come out of this badly. “His party have always championed Scottish issues. The unionist parties have shown that there is no union dividend Continued on page 2 W W
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