Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Disgraced MG Rover Boss Paid His Lover [Pounds Sterling]1.7m; 'Phoenix Four' Face Ban as Directors after Damning rePort into Car Firm's collaPse

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Disgraced MG Rover Boss Paid His Lover [Pounds Sterling]1.7m; 'Phoenix Four' Face Ban as Directors after Damning rePort into Car Firm's collaPse

Article excerpt

Byline: NicholasCecilandPaulWaugh

THE Chinese lover of one of the businessmen who ran Rover was paid a "plainly excessive" [pounds sterling]1.7 million, it was revealed today.

The sum paid to companies associated with Chinese automotive consultant Dr Qu Li was attacked in a damning report into the collapse of MG Rover.

The payments to Dr Li, who had an "intimate relationship" with the car company's engineering boss Nick Stephenson, are likely to infuriate many of the thousands of workers who lost their jobs when MG Rover collapsed in financial difficulties.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has ordered solicitors to start work which could lead to the four being disqualified from being directors of other companies. The long-awaited 830-page report also concluded that: The so-called Phoenix Four obtained "unreasonably large financial rewards" after they bought MG Rover from BMW for a nominal [pounds sterling]10 in 2000.

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The four members of Phoenix Venture Holdings -- chairman John Towers, vice-chairman Peter Beale, car dealer John Edwards and Mr Stephenson -- "chose to give themselves rewards out of all proportion to the incomes which they had previously commanded".

[bar]The four and chief executive Kevin Howe received pay and pensions worth more than [pounds sterling]42 million.

The four-year report by accountant Gervase MacGregor and Guy Newey QC cost the taxpayer [pounds sterling]16 million.

Lord Mandelson urged the Phoenix Four to apologise and said they had "brass-neck nerve" to describe the report as a witch-hunt or a whitewash of the Government's involvement.

The report raised a series of questions over the decision to employ Dr Li, suggesting that her main role was translating -- a claim she strongly denies.

Dr Li provided consultancy services to MG Rover over 15 months during 2004 and 2005 and was paid a two per cent success fee, totalling [pounds sterling]740,000, for a deal in which the Shanghai Auto-motivIndustry Corporation paid [pounds sterling]37 million for intellectual property rights relating to the Rover 75 and other products and engines. …

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