Police Arrest Seelig in Guinness Inquiry
LONDON (AP) _ Former top merger specialist Roger Seelig was arrested by London police on Thursday for his involvement in the scandal surrounding Guinness PLC’s acquisition of Distillers Co. PLC last year.
Seelig, a former merger specialist at the investment firm Morgan Grenfell and Co. who advised huge brewer Guinness on the takeover, is the fifth person arrested so far in the case.
Seelig, 42, appeared voluntarily at a central London police station with his lawyer on Thursday morning for questioning, Scotland Yard said.
Seelig was one of the key members of Guinness’ so-called war cabinet during its 2.6 billion-pound bid for Distillers, a Scotch whisky and gin maker. The bid amounted to $4 billion.
Seelig resigned from Morgan Grenfell last December. The firm cited breaches of established procedures for his resignation but never elaborated.
In January, Christopher Reeves, Morgan Grenfell’s deputy chairman and chief executive, and Graham Walsh, head of corporate finance, resigned from Morgan Grenfell.
The firm said they accepted management responsibility for the breaching of established procedures but said they weren’t personally responsible.
Scotland Yard and the Department of Trade and Industry are investigating Guinness’ apparently illegal effort to repurchase its stock allegedly to boost its share price to make its cash-and-share offer for Distillers more attractive.
Guinness has been seeking to recover $41 million that apparently was used to repurchase shares.
Former Guinness Chairman Ernest Saunders, who was fired in January, financier Sir Jack Lyons, who advised the company during the bid, and Heron International PLC Chairman Gerald Ronson, who allegedly participated in the share scheme, have been arrested and charged with various offenses, including theft. The three remain free on $830,000 bail each.
Former broker Anthony Parnes has been arrested in Los Angeles, and London police are seeking his extradition in the case.