Earl Spencer believes that Martin Bashir showed Diana fake bank statements that made it look like one of the earl’s employees at the time was leaking stories (Picture: PA)
The BBC has found a note written by Princess Diana which appears to confirm she had not seen false bank statements before her 1995 Panorama interview.
Diana Princess of Wales’ brother, Earl Spencer, has previously alleged that the BBC used the fake documents to get Diana to agree to speak to them. The corporation announced that would hold an independent investigation into these allegations.
In the past the BBC had said that they no longer had a copy of Diana’s note and would not be able to produce it for a Freedom of Information request in 2007 despite the fact that its existence was documented in BBC records.
Mr Spencer believes that Martin Bashir, the journalist who interviewed Diana, showed her the false financial documents that purported to show a then member of the earl’s staff was leaking stories, as a way to persuade the princess to talk.
He has also accused Mr Bashir of showing the princess fake documents about members of the royal household.
BBC director-general Tim Davie has already announced there will be an investigation into these alleged new documents relating to royal staff.
The corporation said in a statement: ‘Following the announcement of the independent investigation, the BBC has now recovered the princess’s original handwritten note which is referred to in our records from the time. We will pass it on to the independent investigation.
‘As there has been a lot of commentary about this note and journalists have asked about it, we thought it appropriate to put on record that we’ve now recovered it.
The Panorama interview was aired in 1995 (Picture: PA)
‘We will set out further details of the independent investigation shortly.’
In a recent tweet, the earl criticised the BBC over the Panorama affair saying the corporation was ‘incapable of honestly facing up to the ugly truth of this matter’.
In 1996 the BBC held an internal inquiry into the accusations and said that that Mr Bashir admitted commissioning the mocked-up bank documents and it is understood the journalist was found to have ‘done wrong’ at the end of the process but it is not known if he faced any consequences.
There is no suggestion any of the individuals that were the subject of any of the financial documents were involved in any wrongdoing.
In an earlier statement, a BBC spokeswoman highlighted an apology the earl has received from the director-general over the mocked-up documents relating to his former employee.
The graphic designer who mocked up the documents, Matt Wiessler, said he has been made a scapegoat by the BBC and asked them to apologise.
The BBC has said that Mr Bashir, now the BBC’s religion editor, is seriously ill with Covid-related complications and unable to comment.
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