CHAPTER 30 - ANDREW LAZENBY IN THE WITNESS BOX
This was the moment for which we had been waiting for so long. At last Andrew Lazenby was in the witness box. He looked in the best of health and was supported in Court by his attractive wife. He sounded confident but apparently came across to John’s lawyers as being rather arrogant.
In the closing paragraph of his Witness Statement Andrew Lazenby claimed to have support at the highest levels of Shell Management. John thought that Steve Miller, a director of Shell UK Limited, and a then Group Managing Director of the Royal Dutch Shell Group had spent time in the public gallery one day to show his support. Steve Miller had given approval to Lazenby to proceed with the SMART project. Prior to the trial he had also been supplied with full details about Mr Lazenbys corrupt practices as revealed in the discovery documents. Whoever the VIP was (apparently the spitting image of Steve Miller), he was fawned over by Richard Wiseman. Steve Miller was subsequently elevated to an even higher position as President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the board of Directors of Shell Oil Company.
Lazenby spent some two days in the witness box and had made some important admissions about events, including most significantly an acknowledgement that contrary to the categorical denial in his Witness Statement, he may in fact have seen and retained a copy of the crucial letter to Sainsbury’s on which Hobbs’s forgery ambush had been based. He made the admission after it was put to him that in effect he was saying that both other witnesses at the relevant meeting – John Donovan and Roger Sotherton, were lying.
Questioning then turned to Lazenbys diaries, copies of which had not been supplied under the discovery process until just days before the trial. It was highly suspicious that his diaries, which happened to contain potentially the most explosive evidence in the whole case, had not been supplied until the last minute.
The diaries provided incontrovertible proof that Andrew had a personal relationship with the directors of Option One and that he and his wife socialised with them at restaurants and at the theatre. There was NO evidence that he had any such relationship with ANY other agency. Andrew confirmed to Geoffrey Cox that the notes in his diaries were correct in relation to his friendship with Tim Bonnet at Option One and was so nervous by this stage that he volunteered the fact that he personally cooked meals for dinner parties at his own home attended by Tim Bonnet. One such dinner took place shortly after Lazenby miraculously awarded the SMART project to Option One even though they had not even been in the tender process for the project. Lazenby claimed that he liked Option One because they were a “buzzy agency”, whatever that means.
The close personal relationship between Lazenby and Option One explained why Option One miraculously scooped one project after another that had been put forward in strictest confidence and good faith by other agencies who were deliberately and ruthlessly hoodwinked by Lazenby.
Before Geoffrey Cox could get his teeth further into the diaries, perhaps asking Lazenby to explain his diary note about his offshore bank account in Jersey, the out-of-court discussions about a resolution of the case suddenly took centre stage. Shell’s decision to opt for without prejudice out of court settlement negotiations was therefore very timely as far as Mr Lazenby was concerned.
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