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Crown Agents (Fay Committee's Report)

Volume 932: debated on Monday 16 May 1977

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asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will publish the Report of the Fay Committee on the Crown Agents when she has received it; and if she will make a statement.

Yes, Sir. I shall certainly publish the report, and I shall make a full statement to the House when the report is published.

In the meantime, will my right hon. Friend instruct the Crown Agents, as one of the creditors of the fallen Stern group, to sue for bankruptcy, as is usual with most other people who are involved in bustups of this kind? Does the Minister think that it was wrong for the Bank of England to lean on the First National Bank of Chicago not to sue for bankruptcy against Sterns? Will she give assurances that if none of the 32 creditors is prepared to sue for bankruptcy against the William Stern £110 million property empire, she, as Minister responsible for the Crown Agents, will see that that action is carried out?

As I think my hon. Friend knows from previous exchanges, there is a lot of background to this.

The Crown Agents have been concerned to protect what they can of their own investments in this situation. However, my hon. Friend will be interested to know that the Crown Agents informed me towards the end of last week that the formal steps necessary, prior to the institution of legal proceedings that could ultimately lead to a bankruptcy petition against Stern, have now been taken.