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BBC documentary about Brink’s-Mat theft misrepresented lawyer, says Ofcom

A critic of tax havens who featured in a BBC documentary in regards to the Brink’s-Mat gold bullion theft was misrepresented, in response to Ofcom.

The Gold: Inside Story, which aired in March, traced how armed males broke into the Brink’s-Mat safety depot close to London’s Heathrow Airport in November 1983.

It additionally targeted on the place the lacking gold ended up and banking practices on the time.

In a report revealed on Monday, media watchdog Ofcom stated it had upheld a grievance of “unjust or unfair treatment” from Arthur Lewis-Grey, who says he labored for offshore tax havens as a lawyer earlier than leaving and turning into crucial of them.

Mr Lewis-Grey claimed within the Ofcom report that the documentary re-used footage of him “shorn of context” from an ITV World In Action programme, broadcast within the Nineteen Eighties.

He stated the BBC programme made him seem like an “enthusiastic seller” of offshore monetary companies within the Isle of Man, “regardless of the outcome”.

Mr Lewis-Grey added that he had “been moved from the world of tax avoidance and evasion to commenting apparently frivolously on serious and murderous crime”.

He stated he presently works in regulatory compliance for banks, and his look “runs contrary to (his) work in those organisations”.

Mr Lewis-Grey stated “a number of people have since contacted (him) having viewed the programme”.

The disposal of the Brink’s-Mat bullion, price £26 million, was among the many largest worldwide money-laundering operations of the time and left a string of killings in its wake.

This resulted within the complainant being misrepresented in a approach that had the potential to materially and adversely to have an effect on viewers’ opinions of him

Ofcom

Much of the three tonnes of stolen gold has by no means been recovered and a few of the suspects weren’t convicted.

The BBC stated the footage was a small a part of a wider evaluation of the state of the tax avoidance trade within the Nineteen Eighties, and the way it facilitated the laundering of the proceeds of crimes.

The broadcaster additionally stated Mr Lewis-Grey’s contribution was “sufficiently brief” so viewers couldn’t assign him a motive or suppose he was an “enthusiastic seller” of offshore companies.

However, the company agreed there ought to be “greater clarity” and stated it has made “strenuous efforts to resolve the issue”, together with eradicating the clip from the BBC iPlayer model.

The BBC additionally stated it could not rebroadcast the present within the authentic format or promote to different broadcasters with that phase.

Ofcom stated Mr Lewis-Grey was unnamed and “shown very briefly” so it could be “unlikely” that viewers would affiliate him specifically with commenting on the Brink’s-Mat theft.

However, the printed watchdog additionally stated that with out the context that he was a critic of tax havens, then viewers may need seen him as “advocating the benefits of offshore financial services”.

The watchdog stated: “Ofcom considered that the re-use of the interview footage of Mr Lewis-Grey in the BBC programme was not presented in an appropriate context, and that this resulted in the complainant being misrepresented in a way that had the potential to materially and adversely to affect viewers’ opinions of him.

“Ofcom considered that this created unfairness to the complainant in the programme as broadcast.

“Ofcom has upheld Mr Lewis-Grey’s complaint of unjust or unfair treatment in the programme as broadcast.”

A BBC spokeswoman stated the company famous the findings of Ofcom and declined to remark additional.

The documentary accompanied a six-part sequence known as The Gold, starring Hugh Bonneville, Jack Lowden and Dominic Cooper, which started airing in February.

The sequence adopted the decades-long chain of occasions after what was described as “the crime of the century”.

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