Stern Group

Oral Answers to Questions — Overseas Development – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st February 1977.

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Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner , Bolsover 12:00 am, 21st February 1977

asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether he will now instruct the Crown Agents to take the necessary proceedings, in their capacity as a creditor to the Stern Group, to institute bankruptcy proceedings against William Stern.

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth North

Proceedings have already been taken by another creditor. It is, therefore, unnecessary for the Crown Agents to do so.

Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner , Bolsover

Will my hon. Friend confirm that the Stern Group crashed owing £110 million? Will he also acknowledge that according to The Sunday Times a few weeks ago the Bank of England leaned on another firm of creditors and stopped it taking the necessary action? Does he also agree that we cannot be sure that Keyser Ullmann will take the necessary action in the end? Since the Crown Agents are one of the 32 creditors, they ought to do the decent thing and file a bankruptcy claim.

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth North

My hon. Friend will recognise that it was the judgment of the majority of other creditors—with which the Crown Agents concurred—that there was a better chance of recovering their funds by the orderly run-down of the companies involved. This precludes them from putting any of the companies of which they are creditors into liquidation, but it does not preclude them from taking proceedings in their capacity as personal creditors of William Stern. Indeed, they have specifically refused to settle with him by way of a deed of arrangement.

Photo of Mr Peter Rost Mr Peter Rost , Derbyshire South East

Will the Minister give an assurance that the Crown Agents will not bail out the Labour Party Property Company?