Probing BBC boss over Boris Johnson loan weeks ahead of appointment

Chairman Richard Sharp

Chairman Richard Sharp denies involvement (Image: AFP/Getty Images)

BBC chairman Richard Sharp has denied helping Boris Johnson secure an £800,000 loan weeks before landing the job – but has asked the company to investigate conflicts of interest.

In a message to employees, the ex-Goldman Sachs banker said he was merely “introducing an old friend” to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case. Sam Blyth later acted as guarantor for the then Prime Minister who had money problems.

“I haven’t been involved in any process since that meeting,” the £160,000-year boss pointed out. “Even now I don’t know any more than the media reports about a loan or a guarantee.”

He admitted “distractions like these are not welcome” and said he had asked the BBC board’s nominations committee to look into the case.

Public Appointments Commissioner William Shawcross said yesterday he would also look into how Mr Sharp got the job.

Mr Johnson yesterday called the Sunday Times’ claims: “A lot of absolute nonsense. Let me just tell you, Richard Sharp is a good and wise man, but he knows absolutely nothing about my personal finances, I can tell you that with 100% certainty. This is just another example of the BBC sinking into its own foundations.’

Visiting Northampton, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak insisted that Mr Sharp’s appointment – made by “one of my predecessors” – was to follow a rigorous, independent and transparent process.

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Justin Scaccy

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