Panorama producer resigns over 'bribe' allegation

BBC New Broadcasting House The allegation is in relation to an episode of Panorama due to have been broadcast last month

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A BBC Panorama producer has resigned over allegations a security consultant was bribed for information.

The producer was suspended last month after a complaint made by luxury Caribbean property developers Harlequin.

The programme in question, understood to be an investigation into the company, has been postponed by the BBC.

The corporation said it still hoped the programme would be shown "in due course".

"We are still looking at the facts behind the complaint made by Harlequin," the corporation said in a statement.

The Panorama documentary was described in the Radio Times as "an investigation into financial scandals that could wipe out people's life savings".

The Times newspaper said one of the current affairs programme's producers emailed a security consultant at Harlequin via the professional networking website Linked In.

The email apparently suggested that in return for confidential information about the company, the BBC may offer him work.

In a statement quoted in the Guardian on Thursday, Harlequin alleged the producer attempted to "induce" one of its consultants "into disclosing information about Harlequin in return for the potential reward of future work from the BBC".

"In short, it appears to be tantamount to an attempted bribe," Harlequin said.

"Panorama made no attempt to contact Harlequin prior to making serious (yet entirely false) allegations to others about Harlequin's alleged conduct and failed to provide any evidence to support these allegations."

The BBC will not comment further until its internal investigations have been completed.

According to its own guidelines, the BBC has a "zero-tolerance" approach to bribery and a commitment to acting professionally and with integrity in all its business dealings.

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