BBC chairman fired for allegedly helping secure Boris Johnson’s loan – The Hollywood Reporter
BBC chairman Richard Sharp helped arrange a loan guarantee for Boris Johnson just weeks before the then UK prime minister nominated Sharp for his current role at the British public broadcaster. Sunday Times report.
It says former Goldman Sachs banker Sharp, 66, who was also a donor to Johnson’s Conservative Party, was involved in arranging a guarantor for a loan of up to £800,000 ($990,000). ) for former prime minister Johnson after he had reached the final stage of the BBC chairman recruitment process.
Sharp said he was “simply connecting” people so there was no conflict of interest. A representative for Johnson, quoted by the BBC, said he received no financial advice from Sharp.
The UK opposition is now calling for an investigation. Labor Chairman Anneliese Dodds has written to the MP to request “an urgent inquiry into the truth of this incident”, the BBC reported.
According to the Sunday Times, Sharp joined the affairs in November 2020 after dinner in London with old friend and millionaire Sam Blyth, a Canadian businessman who is also a distant cousin of Johnson. The paper said Blyth raised the idea of acting as a guarantor and asked Sharp’s advice on how to proceed. Sharp agreed to help and discussed the matter with Simon Case, the head of the British civil service and cabinet secretary. According to the timeSharp, Blyth and Johnson also dined before the loan was finalized, but they denied that the then prime minister’s finances were discussed at the time.
Johnson’s government has announced Sharp as its choice for the role of BBC president, whose duties include heading the broadcaster’s board, setting the BBC’s strategic direction and maintaining the its independence, in January 2021. time also note that candidates must declare any conflicts of interest.
Sharp said in a statement: “There was no conflict as I simply connected, at his request, Mr Blyth with the cabinet secretary and no further involvement.”