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New peer Strasburger 'left out of pocket' by Brown

Michael Crick | 15:47 UK time, Friday, 19 November 2010

The new Liberal Democrat peer Paul Strasburger gave considerable personal help to Michael Brown, the convicted fraudster, fugitive, and notorious major donor to the Liberal Democrats before the 2005 election.

A spokesman for the Liberal Democrats confirmed to me today that Mr Strasburger stood bail for Michael Brown at the time of Brown's trial for fraud:

"That's correct, yes," she said when I put it to her. Mr Strasburger referred me to the Lib Dem press office when I rang his home in bath this afternoon.

Presumably, because Mr Brown disappeared, the bail money was forfeited and Mr Strasburger was left considerably out of pocket.

"I would have assumed he did lose," said the Liberal Democrat spokeswoman.

Over the past five years Mr Strasburger and his wife Evelyn have made donations to the Liberal Democrats of more than £765,000.

"I am a donor and I have got a peerage," Mr Strasburger told the Bath Chronicle today. "If people think those things are linked that is up to them. They may or may not be right, I don't know."


ADDITION FROM 1635GMT - STRASBURGER CONFIRMS HE LOST FROM BROWN BAIL

Paul Strasburger has today denied reports from the time of the Michel Brown trial that one of Brown's bail conditions was that he should reside at Paul Strasburger's home.

"Michael Brown never resided at Mr Strasburger's property," his spokeswoman told Newsnight.

On the question of how he came to stand bail for Brown: "He was an acquaintance who had been held on remand for a long period of time and Mr Strasburger was acting in good faith."

"In absolutely no way were the Liberal Democrats involved in Mr Strasburger's decision to stand bail," his spokeswoman added.

So how much did Mr Strasburger lose from standing bail for Brown?

"Without going in to specific figures," the spokeswoman said, "it is true that Mr Strasburger did lose out financially."
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