The BBC has temporarily postponed an episode of Panorama amid allegations that a security consultant has been bribed for information.
Since these allegations, the BBC has also suspended one of the shows’ producers.
The Panorama program was pulled from broadcast last Monday, having been described in the Radio Times as “an investigation into financial scandals that could wipe out people’s life savings”.
The Times has revealed that a producer from the current affairs show, had emailed a security consultant and apparently suggested that the BBC may be in position to offer the consultant work in return for information; the email was sent via professional networking website, LinkedIn.
Panorama producer, Matthew Chapman, allegedly emailed Sean Ghent stating: “It’s unlikely Ames (Harlequin chairman) and maybe Harlequin will be around much longer, nor will he have money to pay people.”
Chapman continued: “Panorama and the BBC is always using security and protection officers and although I cannot guarantee anything we may be able to put things your way.”
The BBC has said it has a “zero-tolerance” approach to bribery and disciplinary action is being taken.
The BBC has said in a statement: “In light of information received late in the production process of this film, the BBC decided to postpone broadcast.”
Their statement continued: “We are currently reviewing the facts. As a result a member of the team has been suspended and a disciplinary procedure is underway.”
There is currently no word on whether the pulled episode of Panorama will air.
Harlequin Property is currently being investigated by Essex Police and the Serious Fraud Office.
Harlequin has around 7,000 investors, with approximately £300 million of investments. Half of these investments have been invested on an advised basis.
At the beginning of March, New Model Adviser, a trade publication, reported that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) had contacted SIPP providers to request information about holdings in Harlequin, having previously issued an alert in January specifically naming Harlequin Property.
The Harlequin Investor Group has launched a moderated online forum, which will allow worried investors to exchange news and share their experiences.
The forum can be visited by clicking here.