Adam Werritty

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Adam Werritty is a former executive director of the Atlantic Bridge.[1]

Werritty accompanied the then Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox on a visit to the Gulf Research Center on 15 April 2007.[2]

Contents

Background

Werritty attended Madras College in St Andrews, Scotland, before going to Edinburgh University in 1997, where he became vice-president of the Young Conservatives. He graduated with a 2:2 in Public Policy. According to the Mail, he first met Liam Fox at a Burns Night supper organised by the Young Conservatives.[3]

After university, Werritty went to work for the healthcare company PPP.[4]

Relationship with Fox in opposition

In a 2011 Commons statement, Liam Fox said he first met Werritty in 1998:

While in opposition he worked as a paid intern in my House of Commons office and at this time had a Parliamentary Pass. He also received payments for research work undertaken during my time in opposition. Records currently show total payment of £5800 over this period.[5]

UK Health

Fox was shadow health secretary from 1999 to 2003. For two years during this period, Werritty was the head of UK Health Ltd.[4]

Security Futures

During Fox's subsequent tenure as Shadow Defence Secretary, Werritty became a director of defence consultancy Security Futures Ltd, using Fox's Southwark home as his address. Fox later said that Werritty had used a spare room at the house rent-free in 2002-03. The £1,400 monthly mortgage interest on the property was paid with Fox's parliamentary Additional Costs Allowance.[4].[6][7]

Sri Lanka

According to the Guardian, Sri Lankan journalists recall Werritty accompanying Fox on visits to the country from early 2009. "Others said they believe they saw him on trips earlier, possibly from the middle of the decade, but that certain identification is impossible."[8]

In August 2009, Werritty met Sri Lankan opposition MP Ravi Karunanayake in Colombo.[8]

During 2009, the Sri Lankan Development Trust was founded at Fox's instigation. Jason Burke reported:

The funding of Werritty's own travel expenses is unclear. In November 2009, during a trip paid for Fox by the trust and the Sri Lankan government, Werritty is believed to have stayed at the Hilton, where rooms cost from £100 a night.[8]

Israel and Iran

According to the Independent on Sunday, Werritty visited Iran and had meetings with Iranian opposition activists in London and Washington:

Mr Werritty joined Mr Fox, while he was shadow defence secretary, on a visit to Iran in the summer of 2007. The IoS understands the adviser has also visited the country on several occasions before and after, although it is not known how long he stayed or whom he met...
...An associate said that Mr Werritty, who can speak some Farsi, would act as a "facilitator" and "take messages" between various opposition figures, although the source insisted he was not a "freelance spy".[9]

Werritty attended the Ninth Herzliya Conference in February 2009, and was listed in the book of conference conclusions as "Dr. Adam Werritty, Advisor, Office of Shadow Defense Secretary; UK Executive Director, The Atlantic Bridge". He was reportedly invited by conference organiser Tommy Steiner and attended as a guest of the British Israel Communications and Research Centre, which paid less than £1000 for his flights and hotel bill.[10][11]

A US-based Iranian met with Werritty in New York in March 2009, after being told that Werritty was preparing a report on Iran.[12]

According to the Guardian, Werritty "personally arranged a meeting between Liam Fox and a senior Iranian lobbyist with close links to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime", at Portcullis House in May 2009.[11]

The Guardian reported that a number of Iranian exiles had meeting with Werritty. One who claimed to have met Werritty in 2005-06, suggested he had visited Iran as early as 1997.[11]

Atlantic Bridge

According to the Independent on Sunday Fox "installed Werritty as executive director of his charity Atlantic Bridge, funded by the Tory donor Michael Hintze, which brought together right-wing politicians from the US and UK."[4]

The Guardian concluded that if Adam Werritty drew a salary as Executive Director of the Atlantic Bridge, the money would in practice be largely coming from Hintze.[13]In October 2011, the Telegraph reported that Hintze had provided Werritty with a free desk at CQS' London office.[14]

Werritty was listed as UK Executive Director of the Atlantic Bridge on the organisation's website as of 15 April 2008. Fox was listed as chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Hintze as a member of the board of advisers.[15] According to the Independent on Sunday, "the position earned Werritty around £90,000 over three years, but it also allowed him to travel to the US regularly for seminars and conferences."[4]

In 2010 the Charity Commission completed a regulatory case report that conclude Atlantic Bridge's "current activities must cease immediately" because it promoted a political policy closely associated with the Conservatives. In September 2010, Third Sector reported that blogger Stephen Newton was challenging the Commission's decision to launch a regulatory inquiry rather than a statutory one. Werritty declined to comment for the story.[16]

Relationship with Fox in government

According to a list compiled by the Cabinet Office, Werritty met Fox on some 40 occasions at the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and on overseas trips during Fox's tenure as Defence Secretary in 2010 and 2011.[17] These included 22 meetings at the MOD main building.[18] Fox also met Werritty on some 18 overseas visits. According to Sir Gus O'Donnell, "During some of these visits Mr Werritty attended informal meetings with Dr Fox at which foreign officials were present."[18]

Lord Astor of Hever

According to Gus O'Donnell, Lord Astor of Hever, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Government Spokesperson in the Lords had had "occasional social contact with Mr Werritty; contact as a result of their previous involvement with the Atlantic Bridge; and contact in passing when visiting Bahrain for the Manama Dialogue in December 2010. None of these meetings involved official MOD business."[18]

Gerald Howarth

According to the Cabinet Secretary's report, "Mr Gerald Howarth, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Security Strategy, met Mr Werritty twice at social events and one official meeting at the suggestion of Dr Fox. There was no follow up to these meetings."[18]

Liam Fox's successor as Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond subsequently stated:

Mr Howarth has met Adam Werritty on three occasions, two of which were large social gatherings. Adam Werritty was also present at a meeting between Mr Howarth and a representative of IRG Ltd regarding information that could be useful to the Department relating to Iraq. The discussion centred on the economic and political landscape in Iraq. No further contact or action has taken place.[19]

A Ministry of Defence spokesman told the Guardian that this meeting was with Stephen Crouch.[20]

Business cards and advisor status

The last occasion on which Werritty visited the MOD was on 21 June 2011 when he met Fox and his special advisors to discuss concerns about his business cards.[17]

Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell concluded on Werritty's use of business cards:

Mr Werritty’s use of business cards describing him as an adviser to Dr Fox gave the impression that Mr Werritty spoke on behalf of the UK Government and/or was associated with Dr Fox in some form of official capacity. This may have been confusing for foreign governments and representatives who may not have understood the differences between a person acting as an external adviser and an adviser to Government.[18]

O'Donnell's report went on to state:

Dr Fox’s close and visible association with Mr Werritty in the UK and overseas, and the latter’s use of business cards portraying himself as an adviser to Dr Fox, risked creating the impression that Mr Werritty spoke on behalf of the UK Government or was officially associated with Dr Fox. This was a particular problem in this case given the very large number of instances where Dr Fox met Mr Werritty overseas, and the damage arose because of the frequency and extent of these contacts and that they were not regulated as well as they should have been.[18]

Pargav

Pargav ltd was formed on 25 June 2010.[21]

According to the O'Donnell report:

Mr Werritty describes the work of Pargav as a not-for-profit organisation which has supported his work in the Middle East. The company received donations from a number of individuals and companies, some of whom had donated previously to Dr Fox and/or the Conservative Party.[18]

Werritty's personal company, Todiha Ltd invoiced Pargav for his services.[18]

According to the O'Donnell report, the donors to Pargav were:

Moulton's donation of £35,000 in February 2011, was solicited by Liam Fox verbally and in an email.[23]

This was made public by BBC business editor Robert Peston who commented:

The email from Mr Fox to Mr Moulton may be prima facie evidence that Mr Fox expected to benefit from Pargav's activities - and it may therefore support the argument that he should have disclosed his relationship with Pargav and with Mr Werritty, who withdrew significant sums from Pargav to fund his trips around the world with Mr Fox.[23]

Sir Gus O'Donnell's report concluded:

As has already been made public, Dr Fox facilitated an introduction between Mr Werritty and a donor. The links between Dr Fox and Mr Werritty means that the donations given to Mr Werritty could at least be seen as giving rise to the perception of a conflict of interest. There is no evidence that Pargav sought to win contracts from the MOD or to influence procurement decisions. Both Mr Werritty and Dr Fox are clear that Mr Werritty never lobbied Dr Fox on behalf of donors.[18]

Conservative Party

Following coverage of donations to Werritty from a number of donors linked to BICOM including Poju Zabludowicz and Michael Lewis, the Jewish Chronicle reported that donations had been actively solicited by the Conservative Party:

The operation was part of a broader fundraising drive within the Jewish community authorised by David Cameron’s personal friend and party co-chairman Lord Feldman, although there is no suggestion he was involved in the Werritty transactions.
One senior community source told the JC that the Fox-Werritty story was about the Conservative Party raising funds, not about businessmen buying access. “The Tory party, over a number of years, sought a particular type of support from the Jewish community, on a particular basis,” he said.[24]

Martin Bright's report added:

The JC understands that the donors did not seek out Mr Werritty’s organisations but were, rather, actively solicited to donate by Conservative fundraisers, including the party treasurer Howard Leigh. Mr Leigh told the JC: “I am a treasurer of the Conservative Party, and so I raise money for the Conservative Party.” He would not be drawn further on the issue of Mr Werritty.[24]

Sri Lanka

Werritty was present at a meeting between Fox and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Gamini Lakshman Peiris during the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on 4-6 June 2010.[17]

Werritty arranged and attended another meeting between Fox and Peiris at the Ministry of Defence on 20 October 2010. According to the Cabinet Office, an official was present but "no official matters were discussed and hence no record was produced."[17]

Werritty and Fox met Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa, in a suite in London's Dorchester hotel around early December 2010.[8]

The Sunday Leader of Sri Lanka reported in December 2010, that the "Personal aide" to Liam Fox, Adam Werritty had arrived in the country on 16 December to co-ordinate arrangements with Suganthi Kadirgamar for a speech by Fox at the Kadirgamar Institute. After news from the UK that the trip had been cancelled, Werritty met with Minister G.L Peiris and Sachin Waas Gunawardene who asked that the cancellation be reduced to a postponement. The Sunday Leader's analysis suggested that Fox's private visits to Sri Lanka had become a cause of concern to British Foreign Secretary William Hague.[25] According to the Guardian, "Fox had been forced to cancel his voyage as it had coincided with the WikiLeaks release of diplomatic cables revealing American diplomats' concerns over the Sri Lankan government's human rights record."[8]

The Sunday Leader concluded:

This is not good news to the Rajapaksa administration. Thus far it had used Liam Fox and the British Public Relations firm Bell Pottinger to smoothen relationships between the two nations. The failure of this strategy was seen during the President’s recent visit to London. Public funds are spent to meet the bills of Bell Pottinger as well as the cost of Liam Fox’s visits to Sri Lanka and the results of these expenses have not yet borne fruit.[25]

During the December 2010 visit, Werritty was reportedly present at a meeting with Sri Lankan officials at which arms deals with Israel and China were discussed.[26]

On 17 March 2011, Werritty attended a meeting on Sri Lanka at the Ministry of Defence at which Fox was present along with officials.[17]

Fox visited Sri Lanka on 8-10 July 2011, where he delivered the Kadirgamar Memorial speech. Werritty was in the audience for the speech as a guest of Mrs Suganthi Kadirgamar, but was not present at official meetings.[17]

Werritty met with former Sri Lankan foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama and opposition MP Wijedasa Rajapakse at around the time of the visit.[8]

Sir Gus O'Donnell's report concluded:

As the Foreign Secretary has separately made clear publicly, Dr Fox’s relationship with Mr Werritty did not impact on UK foreign or security policy. That is agreed by the National Security Council and the Cabinet. He also said of Dr Fox that “If I asked him not to go to Sri Lanka, then he didn’t go. Or if I asked him when he went to convey messages of the UK Government, messages from me, then he conveyed those messages”. However, for the future we should strengthen the safeguards around this, making clearer who is or is not a member of a Ministerial team/delegation, and that official members of delegations accompanying Ministers to meetings overseas must respect HMG’s foreign policy positions.[18]

Tamares Real Estate and the Good Governance Group told the Independent that they funded Werritty to promote peace and reconciliation between adversaries in Sri Lanka.[27]

Israel and Iran

Werritty met with Fox and the British Ambassador Designate to Israel Matthew Gould in September 2010, according to Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell, who concluded in his report:

I understand that this was a general discussion of international defence and security matters to enable Mr Gould better to understand MOD’s perspective of the security situation in the Middle East. Mr Werritty was invited to attend as an individual with some experience in these matters. As a private citizen, however, with no official locus, it was not appropriate for Mr Werritty to have attended this meeting. Dr Fox has since acknowledged this.[28]

On 6-7 February 2011, Fox and Werritty attended the Eleventh Annual Herzliya Conference in Israel. During the visit, Werritty arranged a dinner at which he, Fox and British ambassador Matthew Gould met with senior Israeli officials.[17] The Cabinet Secretary's report concluded that Fox's private office should have attended this meeting, but the offer of their presence was declined by Fox.[18]

According to the Telegraph, Israeli intelligence officers were present at this meeting, at which sanctions against Iran were discussed. The Telegraph also reported that Fox and Werritty had met the head of Mossad although whether at this meeting or separately is not entirely clear from the story.[29] The relevant Mossad chief would have been either Meir Dagan of Tamir Pardo.

The Guardian reported on 17 October 2011 that MI6 had debriefed Werritty on his Israeli and Iranian contacts in order to obtain "any privileged information from foreign countries Werritty had access to."[12] On 23 October 2011, the Telegraph reported that Werritty had been called in by MI6 the previous February:

“He was going around talking to Iranian exiles and opposition people and he was broadcasting his connections to Fox. The risk was that he was being too muscular. There was a worry that the Iranians might misunderstand that there was a British government regime-change agenda.” [30]

Boulter meeting

In March 2011, Werritty was introduced by lobbyist Lee Petar of Tetra Strategy to the venture capitalist Harvey Boulter, who was engaged in a legal dispute with 3M over technology developed by the Ministry of Defence.[31]

This led to a controversial meeting between then Defence Secretary Liam Fox and Mr Boulter in Dubai in June 2011.[32]

Shortly after this meeting, Boulter sent an email to William Brewer of 3M, which read in part:

At headline of of $30mn+ you will allow MoD internally to save face. IF it were to settle 3M would need to do an immediate charm offensive - my recommendation. The British generally are silent when they are upset - I am sure you realise this.
Of course a settlement might not be possible, but as a result of my meeting today you ought to understand that David Cameron's Cabinet will very shortly be discussing the rather embarrassing situation of George's knighthood. It was discussed today. Government's are big and sometimes decisions in one part are not well coordinated.[33]

According to the Guardian, Boulter had discussed the issue of the knighthood being considered for 3M head George Buckley with Werritty, but not with Fox.[33]

In a statement to the Guardian on the episode, Tetra stated:

Tetra Strategy was retained in 2010 to provide litigation PR assistance to the Porton Group in connection with its ongoing High Court claim in England against 3M. The case concerned the development of new MRSA testing technology developed by the MoD. Tetra introduced its client to Adam Werritty in March 2011, who was widely believed at the time to be an official adviser to Dr Liam Fox. The purpose of the introduction was to brief the MoD on the litigation. The suggestion by the Guardian that Tetra was paid to arrange a "secretive" meeting with Dr Fox is not true and is expressly denied. Tetra is referring this matter to the PCC."[31]

The Cabinet Secretary's report concluded on the Boulter meeting: "Dr Fox has acknowledged that conducting this meeting without a private secretary present was unwise and inappropriate." According to the report, Fox had been offered and declined to have private office representation at the meeting.[18]

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Notes

  1. Conference Conclusions: The Ninth Herzliya Conference, Institute for Policy and Strategy, Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, p.58.
  2. Press Room, Gulf Research Center, accessed 14 October 2011.
  3. Ian Drury, Tim Shipman and Rob Cooper, 'He loves his wife': MP defends Liam Fox amid 'wild gossip' about his sex life after it emerges young male friend was at his flat when it was burgled, Mail Online, 13 October 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Matt Chorley and Brian Brady,How the odd couple's relationship blossomed over more than a decade, Independent.co.uk, 9 October 2011.
  5. Andrew Sparrow, Politics blog - Liam Fox faces questions, guardian.co.uk, 10 October 2011.
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Tele081011
  7. Holly Watt and James Kirkup, Liam Fox 'adviser' set up Dubai meeting with would-be defence contractor, Daily Telegraph, 8 October 2011.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Jason Burke,Adam Werritty and Liam Fox's Sri Lankan connections, guardian.co.uk, 13 October 2011.
  9. Jane Merrick and James Hanning, Revealed: Fox's best man and his ties to Iran's opposition, Independent on Sunday, 16 October 2011.
  10. Conference Conclusions: The Ninth Herzliya Conference, Institute for Policy and Strategy, Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, p.58.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Ian Black and Luke Harding, Adam Werritty set up Liam Fox meeting with Iranian regime lobbyist, guardian.co.uk, 12 october 2011.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Richard Norton-Taylor and Saeed Kamali Dehghan, MI6 spoke to Adam Werritty after trips, guardian.co.uk, 17 October 2011.
  13. Simon Bowers, Michael Hintze: Liam Fox backer who helped to bankroll foreign trips, guardian.co.uk, 11 October 2011.
  14. Holly Watt, Richard Spencer in Dubai and Robert Winnett, Liam Fox's friend Adam Werritty linked to Conservative donor, Telegraph, 11 October 2011.
  15. Who We are, Atlantic Bridge, archived at the Internet Archive on 15 April 2008, accessed 17 October 2011.
  16. John Plummer, Charity Commission faces threat of a judicial review, Third Sector, 21 September 2010.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 17.6 Occasions when Adam Werritty is known to have met with Secretary of State in PDF Format, Cabinet Office, 18 October 2011.
  18. 18.00 18.01 18.02 18.03 18.04 18.05 18.06 18.07 18.08 18.09 18.10 18.11 Gus O'Donnell, Allegations against Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, Cabinet Office, 18 October 2011.
  19. Defence: Adam Werritty, Written Answers to Questions, Hansard, www.parliament.uk, 24 October 2011.
  20. Rupert Neate, Defence minister Gerald Howarth met firm funding Werritty trips, guardian.co.uk, 25 October 2011.
  21. Companies House webcheck, accessed 14 October 2011.
  22. Gus O'Donnell, Allegations against Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, Cabinet Office, 18 October 2011, pp.5-6.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Robert Peston, Liam Fox emailed Pargav funds request, BBC News, 17 October 2011.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Martin Bright, Tories solicited cash for Werritty, Jewish Chronicle, 18 October 2011.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Mahinda’s Problems And Ranil’s Woes…, Sunday Leader, 26 December 2010.
  26. Kim Sengupta, Werritty attended talks about arms deal with Israel and China, The Independent, 15 October 2011.
  27. Kim Sengupta, Werritty attended talks about arms deal with Israel and China, The Independent, 15 October 2011.
  28. Gus O'Donnell, Allegations against Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, Cabinet Office, 18 October 2011, pp.2-3.
  29. Holly Watt, Adam Werritty attended Israeli secret service meeting, telegraph.co.uk, 19 October 2011.
  30. Robert Winnett, MI6 warned Liam Fox over Adam Werritty links, Telegraph, 23 October 2011.
  31. 31.0 31.1 Rupert Neate and Patrick Wintour, Revealed: how lobbyists were paid to facilitate meeting with Liam Fox, The Guardian, 10 October 2011.
  32. Jim Pickard and Sam Jones, Donor revelations add to pressure on Fox, FT.com, 14 October 2011.
  33. 33.0 33.1 Emails from Harvey Boulter to William Brewer, guardian.co.uk, 10 October 2011.
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