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Parliament Committee to Recall Maxwell Brothers

January 15, 1992

LONDON (AP) _ Lawmakers said Wednesday they will call Kevin and Ian Maxwell back to Parliament to give public answers to questions about millions of pounds missing from pension funds.

But the House of Commons social security select committee said after meeting in private Wednesday that it would give advance notice in writing of its questions.

The Maxwells on Monday refused to answer questions on the grounds that they might incriminate themselves.

Both formerly directors of the late Robert Maxwell’s Mirror Group Newspapers PLC, his sons Ian and Kevin Maxwell already face civil suits claiming they were personally responsible for improperly removing 50 million pounds, or nearly $88 million, from the corporation.

Lawyers for the brothers told the committee on Monday they expected the Maxwells to face criminal charges soon on the disappearance of pension funds from Maxwell companies. They said its questions amounted to trial by television.

The Serious Fraud Office, a prosecuting agency, is investigating the disappearance of the pension fund money.

Publisher Robert Maxwell died at sea Nov. 5. Since then auditors and administrators called in to sort out his former empire have discovered he had used funds from his public companies to prop up his beleaguered private firms, including The European newspaper - which was sold last week - and the New York Daily News.

The committee chairman, Labor Party lawmaker Frank Field, said Monday it would seek advice on the ″serious questions″ raised for Parliament when the Maxwells refused to answer any questions.

Parliament can fine or imprison those whom it decides have held it in contempt.

Parliamentary select committees can compel attendance at their hearings, but their powers to force witnesses to answer questions have not been tested.

Lawyers for the Maxwells objected Monday that they were in particular danger of incriminating themselves and prejudicing any future trial because they had no prior notice of questions.

The lawyers said the brothers were prepared to answer some questions in writing.

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