Allegations that £600,000 ($854,160; €966,770) in commissions for merchandise had been misappropriated by EMS, the former local merchandising agency in Hong Kong for BBC Worldwide’s Tweenies characters, have led to the issuing of a writ against EMS seeking over £1 million in damages.
It is alleged that EMS accepted illegal payments to place orders with local suppliers of merchandising, an allegation that has already led to the dismissal of BBC WW’s director of global marketing and brand development, Jeff Taylor [WAMN: 26-Nov-01].
The latter, together with EMS directors Daniel Jonathan Berman and Sydney Edels, was recently arrested on suspicion of accepting illegal commissions from suppliers of toys based on the BBC’s shows. Although Taylor was not subsequently charged, he is helping Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption with its enquiries.
Berman and Edels appeared in court on March 1 when the case was adjourned until later this month. “We welcome the fact that the investigations have now resulted in charges,” said, BBC WW chief executive Rupert Gavin. “We have initiated our own civil action against EMS but given impending legal proceedings, we clearly cannot make any further comment at this stage.”
In an ironic twist to the affair, the firm hired by the BBC to carry out internal investigations into alleged improprieties within BBC WW is none other than the Enron-tainted accountancy giant Arthur Anderson.
Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff