Liberal Vannin ask for Pinewood probe

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LIBERAL Vannin MHKs are to write to the Public Accounts Committee to call for an investigation into the Pinewood deal.

They say they are shocked at the ‘continued lack of transparency’ over the acquisition of a 9.89 per cent shareholding in Pinewood Shepperton and are far from satisfied by the answers to their questions given by Treasury Minister Eddie Teare in the House of Keys and Tynwald.

Party chairman Roy Redmayne said: ‘Many questions have been asked, only a few of which have been answered. When Minister Teare has answered questions there has been insufficient clarity and those answers have raised even more questions.’

The party disputes the claim by the Treasury Minister that there has been no change to the original proposal and question the position of a subsidiary company which is to manage the Media Development Fund.

Lib Van MHKs point out no mention was made of this subsidiary, Pinewood Film Advisors Limited, during the debate in June when Tynwald approved the Pinewood deal in principle.

Financial Services Authority compliance was required before the Pinewood deal could proceed but Mr Redmayne said it is not Pinewood Film Advisors Limited that is licensed and regulated by the FSA but Prosper Capital LLP, which has been appointed principal of Pinewood Film Advisors Limited and is not a subsidiary of Pinewood Shepperton.

Mr Redmayne said ‘The actual firm managing the Isle of Man’s investment is not that which Tynwald authorised and Tynwald’s authority for any change has not been sought.

‘Whilst we may be told that this is a mere technical detail and that ‘the basic broad concept’ is still there but with such a strategic investment it is key that we understand who is looking after the Isle of Man’s interest. As the old saying goes ‘The devil is in the detail’.

‘Liberal Vannin is not satisfied with the way reasonable questions have been avoided by the Treasury Minister and neither is the public. The Treasury Minister should remember this is public money. No matter how many times he says that it is money generated by the film industry it is still public money.’

Liberal Vannin MHKs will be writing to the Public Accounts Committee asking if they will investigate. If the Public Accounts Committee comes to the conclusion that it is money that is being well spent that will be the end of the matter.

‘If the Treasury Minister is confident that everything has been done correctly and it is in the best interests of the Isle of Man, both he and the Council of Ministers will welcome the scrutiny from the Public Accounts Committee.’

Mr Teare told the Manx Independent he would be happy to give evidence should the Public Accounts Committee choose to investigate.

He said: ‘I will certainly co-operate with any Tynwald committee.’ Mr Teare said all the necessary FSA compliances had been received to allow the deal to proceed.

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