Research Pending presents: Bashirgate

Banker, Faked Banker

Posted by Gary Smith on May 24 2021

Research Pending presents:

Martin 'oh God he once brought out an album' Bashir.

(Is this him singing in a Jamaican accent?)

His biggest star interviews were with Princess Diana and Michael Jackson, both of whom died in suspicious circumstances.

USA: He resigned before being sacked from his job on MSNBC after correctly suggesting Sarah Palin was a "world class idiot" and America's "resident dunce".

Even though Tony Hall, the Director General at the time, knew Bashir had lied about some faked bank statements that were used to get the Princess Diana interview, Bashir was rehired as Religious Affairs Correspondent in 2016 and then promoted to Religious Affairs Editor. Bashir resigned in May 2021 ahead of the publication of the Dyson Report which criticizes Tony Hall's investigation into the affair, carried out when Hall was BBC Head Of News, saying it was 'woefully ineffective'.

The BBC were still denying Bashir had done anything wrong a year ago when a journalist put in a freedom of information request that set in motion the Lord Dyson enquiry that finally got to the bottom of the fraud.

Today the BBC is regulated by Ofcom which has more robust procedures of dealing with whistleblowers

Earl Spencer is reported to think the interview led to Princess Diana's death. The fake bank statement shows her security detail were being paid by News UK, owner of The Sun and News Of the World, and following this she got rid of the Buckingham Palace guards and then was left to rely on other sources, including security at the Ritz in Paris - in charge the night of her death.

Matt Wiessler was the freelance graphic designer who created the fake bank statement requested by Bashir. He was not told what the documents would be used for. The BBC made a decision to not use him again after he reported his involvement in the fraud to his line management. Here's hoping he gets a nice payout in compensation.

Princess Diana said she did not see the fake bank statements and that they played no part in her decision to give the interview. But even so the bank statement was the reason Bashir got in touch with her the first time, after it was shown to her brother, now Earl Spencer, who then initiated the contact between her and Bashir.

Gary Smith, 24th May 2021