A BBC Panorama programme based on David Ames and the
Harlequin Property group has been postponed following claims that the producer
had offered a Harlequin consultant a bribe.

The programme called: “The Great Savings Wipeout” was
planned to be an exposé of David Ames and his controversial property empire with projects in Thailand, South America and the Caribbean.
The Harlequin Property Group, based in Ilford, Essex, UK, has
taken millions of pounds off investors, including their private pension money,
to build houses in the sun. The investors have so far little
to show for it.
In the Caribbean, after many years, not even a brick had
been laid on some projects and in Thailand, well those projects been exposed here
many times before.

People who put into Harlequin Projects in Thailand have either lost all – or are fighting for their properties in the courts.

The BBC was very quick to postpone the programme but the organisation
is super sensitive. A Harlequin employee said he had been offered a bribe, in
so far as he had been offered work at the BBC as Ames would soon not be around.
The conversation is here in this article in this article in the ‘Daily Telgegraph’. 
 Matthew Chapman:
The security consultant Sean Ghent rushed to his employer perhaps
thinking ‘ a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
People are already writing in to complain about the conduct
of the programme’s producer and of course the licence fee the BBC passes on to
the public.
But David Ames may have little to celebrate. Harlequin is
still under investigation by the Serious Fraud office and newspapers are not
backing down.

Andrew Drummond comments: 

“If the reported conversation is
correct then clearly no bribe was made. If I were talking to an employee of
Ames I might be a little bit circumspect but I would see no harm in offering to
help someone who was helping me in their enquiry.

“And I would certainly have
asked ‘Why on earth would you want to help a complete s*** like David Ames?’ I am not so sure I would ask on Linkedin though.

“Best thing the BBC can do now is investigate, clear the
producer, and then broadcast. Not to would be a great waste of the licence fee.
 But I am guessing that the BBC might be playing a smarter game. One can always hope.

“I have worked on Panorama on several programmes. In fact I
worked on “Maggie’s Militant Tenency’ with producer James Hogan and reporter
Michael Cockerell in 1984. Cockerell later wrote a biography of Margaret

“The programme was sued by a couple of Tory MP’s. The BBC Board of
Governors backed off. Let’s hope they have more bottle this time.

“Matthew Chapman has been in touch with me and I did do some
work for him but he decided to stick to the Caribbean in the end. I think the cheque is in the post.”

About the Author

Andrew Drummond

Andrew Drummond is a British independent journalist and occasional television documentary maker. He is a former Fleet Street, London, journalist having worked at the Evening Standard, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, News of the World, Observer and The Times.

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