Tory defence secretary Liam Fox managed to hang on for a week over revelations of the extraordinary access he gave to his friend Adam Werritty.
Just 18 months into the job, they had met 40 times. This included 18 meetings on foreign trips. Fox even tagged holidays with Werritty onto the end of official visits—twice in Hong Kong and twice in Dubai.
What has come to light is a tangled web of ex-charities, not-for-profit companies and consultancies.
One was called Pargav. It was backed by a varied cast of venture capitalists, hedge fund managers, corporate investment companies and “intelligence” firms.
The crucial meeting that led to Fox’s demise appears to be one arranged by Margaret Thatcher’s former press adviser, Lord Bell—now head of PR firm Bell Pottinger. It set up talks between one of Pargav’s donors, Michael Hintze—who also donates to the Tories—and the Times newspaper.
In total, £147,000 was given to Pargav, giving Werritty a life of luxury.
The jet-setting included trips to luxury hotels and plush restaurants in Dubai and Hong Kong, and even the purchase of crocodile shoes.
Venture capitalist Jon Moulton revealed that Fox had asked him to provide funds to Pargav.
He was told it did work in “security policy analysis and research”.
Moulton bought Gardner, a British firm with extensive defence contracts, in February last year.
The RAF jets using Gardner components, including the Typhoon, were subsequently spared cuts in Fox’s strategic spending review a few months later.
It was also reported that another donor to Pargav, private intelligence firm G3, had significant interests in the defence trade.