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- From Russia with truth part two - 21st March 2023
- Justice of the peace - 20th March 2023
The importance of the whistleblower is vital to the work of all investigations conducted by The Eye, when he or she is prepared to disclose troubling workplace facts where a storm of controversy has erupted, and it has been underlined by major events recently.
An internal investigation at the car giant Nissan was prompted by information from a whistleblower and led to the arrest of company Chairman, Carlos Ghosn. This was a story of extraordinary alleged hubris and cannot be overestimated.
The affair could become one of the biggest scandals in corporate history. Prosecutors have been given leave to keep him in custody.
Mr Ghosn, who for now retains his position as the chairman and chief executive of Renault, Nissan’s cross-shareholding automotive partner, and of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, was arrested alongside Greg Kelly, his fellow Nissan director, who also remains in detention.
Mr Goshn was a superstar of the car industry and had almost single-handedly rescued Nissan from bankruptcy in 1999. He had orchestrated the partnerships with, first, Renault and then Mitsubishi.
But yesterday he was charged with conspiring to under-report to regulators the compensation to be paid to him between 2010 and 2015, and will face a further 20 days in jail after prosecutors added to the charges against him. Prosecutors believe that he concealed about five billion yen (£35 million) in deferred compensation to be paid after retirement, doubling his declared remuneration.
Mr Goshn, who insists he is innocent, today faces up to 10 years in prison.
But this case is not the only one where a whistleblower has played a crucial role.
In the past few days it has been reported that another investigation was launched into alleged Russian links to killings in the UK where information from a whistleblower was again central. Detectives who led the inquiry into the attempted assassination of a former spy in Salisbury, when teams wearing special clothing bagged up items, have been assigned to the latest examination.
Alexander Perepilichnyy blew the whistle on a Kremlin fraud, but died after eating Russian sorrel soup which caused him to collapse vomiting a strange liquid.
On different, but in its way no less important, levels, The Eye have been given extraordinary details of disturbing events inside major Welsh organisations, which we have brought out into the open.
The Eye exclusively revealed details from a whistleblower who had worked at Brecon War Memorial Hospital of how an elderly stroke victim was allegedly slapped in bed by a carer, and visiting families were forced to bring in food to keep their starving relatives alive. We have also been told that falsification of notes at the hospital was “routine practice”.
The whistleblower said: “The night culture at Brecon hospital (was) amateur at best, dangerous at worst. (Staff were) drunk on duty, nurses (were) put to bed as they were drunk, then woken up before days-staff turned up. A convicted sex-offender was working as a care assistant.”
A police investigation followed which lasted several months. The worrying news of what we were told may have been happening at the Brecon hospital revealed by The Eye, came soon after another scandal was disclosed by whistleblowers in the National Health Service (NHS).
The likely next First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, was at the helm as Welsh health minister when a huge scandal erupted at a North Wales hospital about the treatment of mentally ill patients, which hit the UK media. The alarming practices at Ysbyty Clwyd’s Tawel Fan were also prompted by a whistleblower, and it was closed in December 2013 after shocking revelations were made by The Daiy Mail. Patients were ‘treated like animals’ as they were filmed crawling across floors, and a report into the scandal in 2015 said there was “institutional abuse”.
Mr Drakeford, now the Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government, apologised and said there would be an “urgent meeting”.
Meanwhile whistleblowers have provided extraordinary evidence today of the astonishing turmoil inside a leading Welsh university and gave us details they were “too frightened to talk” publicly about, the alleged chaos, and how leading officials who had oversight of the institution were “turning a blind eye even though a grievance has gone straight to them”.
We were told how a senior member of staff had left Cardiff Metropolitan University (CMU), but it had caused deep dismay among staff as “she is the only member of the senior team who is on the side of the academics”.
The Eye have received numerous complaints from whistleblowers that those who are left at CMU are of low calibre and subservient to the controversial Vice-Chancellor (VC) Cara Aitchison.
One of our sources within CMU told us those that have been “brought in … worked with VC previously”, and the contact added: “I can’t wait for the REF (Research Excellence Framework) results … Research across the university is at an all time low”.
We were also told by a whistleblower that a deputy Vice-Chancellor at the university had submitted a formal complaint about the running of the institution by Professor Aitchison. The Eye have shown how another whistleblower at CMU told us that the atmosphere was “feverish”, while more than two and a half times the amount of money had been spent on legal fees compared with the year before.
But the whistleblowers at CMU have also said there is real anger among staff that the crisis is not being covered by the mainstream media.
Whistleblowers also came to the fore on The Eye when we disclosed that another university in Wales – Swansea – had employed a crook.
Steve Chan was involved in a huge fraud before he came to the university’s management school, and was investigated by the FBI leading up to his conviction, when he was jailed by a Boston court for four years three months, but continued onwards to seeming great success.
In 1997 and 1998 Chan and others made false representation to lenders about two companies he was involved in, and more than $20 million was then promised to fund the lease or purchase of computers, furniture as well as related equipment.
Apart from serving a jail term, the former worker at Swansea University, faced other punishment. Chan was ordered to pay millions of dollars in compensation, by the court in Boston, and his sentence was followed by three years of supervised release after he admitted one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and one count of mail fraud. He was also ordered to pay restitution of $12,596,298.
The university was apparently unwilling to answer our questions in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request about Chan and dubbed us “vexatious”.
Four of the questions we asked in the FOIA were:
- What was the exact date that Professor Steve Chan of the School of Management registered for his Ph.D at Swansea University?
- What was the exact date that he undertook his viva voce examination for his Ph.D?
- Who were the members of his Ph.D viva committee (including external examiners)?
- Who approved the appointment of the supervisors for his Ph.D?
Whistleblowers were also central to the news which prompted the suspension of the man who oversaw the appointment of him at Swansea University School of Management, Marc Clement.
He and his superior, the Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University, Richard Davies, were both suspended from their roles along with others, while a top-level investigation was conducted.
These shock disciplinary actions were prompted by the connections with the Wellness and Life Science Village in Carmarthenshire.
This project has emerged from the £1.3bn City Deal – which also includes planned match-funding – for the Swansea Bay City region, which is made up of the four local authorities of Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, but the background to it has become highly controversial.
Swansea University has combined with Sterling Health Security Holdings to raise a huge amount of money for the project.
Sterling Health is registered in London, and its directors include Franz Hermann Dickmann, as well as the former leader of Carmarthenshire County Council Meryl Gravell.
One of our whistleblowers at Swansea University told us: “The suspensions have everything to do with the Wellness Village in Llanelli”.
It has also now emerged that the man who chairs the governing body at Swansea University, Sir Roger Jones, has resigned from his senior role with a company where Professor Clement was also a director, although we are told by a spokeswoman the event is “wholly unconnected” with the investigation which is underway.
Whistleblowers were also instrumental in our disclosure of the criminal past of a South Wales so-called property ‘expert’ who has been conning innocent people out of thousands of pounds.
Howard Williams, who also goes by the name of James Daniels, is a former drug dealer and convicted conman exposed exclusively by The Eye but once again ignored by the mainstream media in Wales, who had his legs broken after a deal soured and sent abusive messages to our Editor Phil Parry, his friends as well as his family. He is now connected with the ‘Blanco’ bar/restaurant in Murcia, Spain which offers guests food and drink.
He has lied about a two year court battle with Mr Parry when none has ever existed, and that we were forced to remove our last story about him when it can still be seen.
Whistleblowers gave us information about Williams/Daniels which enabled us to show how over 10 years his jail sentences had totalled four years four months, involved 25 counts of deception, and that he has been made bankrupt three times.
On one property website, the anger of an individual was clear: “He (Williams/Daniels) makes you pay circa £10k deposit and then disappears into the sunset”. At a property event in the South of England The Eye were told that an investor had lost £30,000 to Williams/Daniels.
His exploits have even been the subject of our satirical writer Edwin Phillips.
Williams/Daniels has boasted of owning a boat and a jet ski which he has said on Facebook was for sale.
He claimed to have driven expensive cars on his new property website, and said on social media he turned £56 into £1,000 in “24 hours”. In a YouTube video where he was interviewed about his ‘property skills’ Williams/Howards claimed he had a “massive” estate agency business, but went from earning £20,000 a week to having just £56 in his pocket and living on the streets.
He told his audience he had turned that £56 into £1,000 in just a day and night.
But The Eye have reported that his own father, Bill, describes his son as a “complete crook”, and Williams/Daniels’ former business partner, Sam McManus (also known as ‘Georgeson’), admitted to us he too was fooled by him and that Williams/Daniels was a ‘sick man’..
In one of his tirades against us, he wrote: “You write total lies about people (The Eye – we only report facts), bully to the point of harassment and suicide, and will not answer a direct email? This is not journalism this is a mixture of Phil Parry (The ex journalist) and (others) you are pure scum!!!!! Let it be publicly known that The Eye does NOT care about people it just lies to make fictitious stories up. BULLYING, LIES, MENTAL HEALTH ABUSE TO NAME BUT A FEW!!!!!”.
Alarmed whistleblowers contacted us about Williams/Daniels’ new ‘career’ as a partner in the ‘Blanco’ bar. A ‘Group Statement’ from ‘Blanco’ online, said wrongly that legal action had begun between The Eye and the bar’s owner, and it was claimed our last article about Williams/Daniels was suspended when it is still on our website – https://the-eye.wales/bar-fly/. Mr Parry commented at the time: “This is unbelievable when the story is still up there. It’s like saying black is white!”.
Disturbing events inside Welsh Labour have also been revealed to us by whistleblowers, some of which were yesterday the subject of our satirical writer Edwin Phillips. We showed how it appeared the UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was causing trouble for activists in Wales.
Senior sources within Welsh Labour told The Eye that Mr Corbyn is a “liability”, and an obstacle to being elected which is being raised by angry voters “all the time”. Some have even admitted to us they deliberately avoid talking about the Labour leader when they are canvassing for votes.
One said: “We have to move the conversation on to something else if they talk about Jeremy”.
Another stated: “It is really difficult. He (Jeremy Corbyn) is being raised all the time, especially after he has made a speech. We have to talk about why Welsh Labour is different”.
Whistleblowers too are different. But their news is welcome on The Eye!
Whistling in the wind part two is next week when we explain more of the stories from whistleblowers.
Tomorrow we exclusively reveal more disturbing evidence of the dirty tricks campaign underway at controversial Swansea University.
Check your knowledge of today’s events as revealed over the last few months on The Eye, with our brilliant interactive quiz: [viralQuiz id=1]