BBC pay: MP hints at police probe

Former BBC director-general Mark Thompson signed off some of the payments. Picture: Reuters

Former BBC director-general Mark Thompson signed off some of the payments. Picture: Reuters

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A TORY MP has raised the possibility of a police investigation into how senior BBC staff were given hefty pay-offs that breached the corporation’s own guidelines.

Rob Wilson, MP for Reading East, wrote to the National Audit Office (NAO) after it published a report showing payments of hundreds of thousands of pounds in some cases were made although executives were not always entitled to the money.

In his letter to the NAO, Mr Wilson wrote: “In the event that you consider it is possible that criminal offences may have taken place, I would be grateful if you would inform me whether, in your opinion, the evidence is sufficient to warrant a wider investigation as to the possibility of fraud, collusion in fraud, misuse of public funds, or other wrongdoing in relation to severance payments at the BBC in recent years.”

In a three-year period up to December, the BBC spent £25 million on severance payments for 150 high-ranking staff.

In one case the NAO found an executive was paid £300,000 in lieu of notice after their redundancy was agreed – despite serving their notice in full.

The payment was agreed by then director-general Mark Thompson.

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