Fox resigns: Police consider Werritty probe

Liam Fox John Mann is also considering asking the Electoral Commission to investigate Mr Fox

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City of London Police are considering investigating Adam Werritty, the close friend of former defence secretary Liam Fox, for possible fraud.

Labour MP John Mann has asked the police to probe allegations Mr Werritty used business cards falsely claiming he was an adviser to Mr Fox.

At the same time a firm he set up was receiving money from several wealthy supporters, it has been reported.

Mr Fox resigned after pressure over his working relationship with Mr Werritty.

A City of London Police spokesman confirmed they had received an allegation of fraud.

"Officers from the force's economic crime directorate will consider the matter and establish whether or not it is appropriate to launch an investigation."

Analysis

Liam Fox is gone but the questions remain.

Labour MP John Mann believes Adam Werritty's use of business cards claiming he was an adviser - coupled with the revelation that some wealthy backers claim they were unwittingly funding his numerous international visits - is evidence the 34-year-old may have broken the law.

Mr Mann also said it is possible the Electoral Commission - which regulates political parties and their funding - may be asked to look into claims that the former defence secretary failed to declare payments which could be political donations.

Mr Fox always maintained Mr Werritty was neither an official nor unofficial adviser.

He told Parliament he had asked Mr Werritty to stop using the business cards last summer.

Mr Mann said he was also considering asking the Electoral Commission - which regulates political parties and their funding - to consider whether Mr Fox should face criminal proceedings over a failure to declare political donations.

The latest comes after venture capitalist Jon Moulton on Friday said Mr Fox approached him after the election seeking funds for Pargav - a non-profit company set up by Mr Werritty.

Mr Moulton said he was told Pargav was involved in "security policy analysis and research".

The Sunday Telegraph reported that some of the rich donors to the company were furious at being drawn into the row and had complained they were misled about the use of the funds they were providing.

Report due

Mr Fox's conduct is being investigated by Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell, and a report is due to be published early next week.

It is expected to be very critical of his actions.

The defence secretary had been under intense pressure last week after it emerged that Mr Werritty had met Mr Fox 22 times at the MoD and joined him on 18 overseas trips since he came to office last year - despite having no official role.

Mr Werritty, a former flatmate of Mr Fox and the best man at his wedding, handed out business cards suggesting he was his adviser and was present at meetings Mr Fox had with military figures, diplomats and defence contractors.

Questions have been raised about who paid for Mr Werritty's business activities and whether he had personally benefited from his frequent access to the defence secretary.

The BBC understands officials at the Department for International Development had raised concerns about Mr Werritty's involvement in Sri Lanka where, it is claimed, defence contracts were being touted.

Labour has called for a broader investigation into the rules governing ministerial conduct.

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