Ex-GJW consultant in libel threat over Enron

The lobbyist accused of fixing political sponsorship deals for

fallen US energy giant Enron is threatening to sue for libel.

Karl Milner, a consultant at WPP-owned Finsbury's political and

regulatory affairs arm, was named in six news pieces last week as having

advised Enron on its payment for places at hospitality receptions run by

Labour and the Conservatives.

Milner, who was accused three years ago of boasting to potential clients

of access to embargoed select committee reports, denies the claims.

Milner met lawyers this week with a view to libel action. He is

undecided on whether to sue or complain to the Press Complaints

Commission - whose chairman, Lord Wakeham, has for four years been a

non-exec on the Enron board.

A number of publications are now thought to have accepted Milner played

no role for Enron and have apologised to him.

The collapse of Enron - which became the biggest bankruptcy in corporate

history when it filed for creditor protection in December - has already

led to a glut of litigation in the US. It has also accounted for one

senior manager's suicide and questions over why company auditor Andersen

shredded crucial documents months before the collapse.

The newspaper reports claimed Milner, who was at GJW before joining

Finsbury, acted for Enron when it was a GJW client. A GJW spokesman said

the agency had approached Enron in 1996 and 1998, but had not won


Enron has employed Charles Miller as its UK lobbying adviser for more

than a decade. From 1990 until 1997 this meant using the Public Policy

Unit, of which Miller was MD. Miller merged PPU into Citigate Public

Affairs in 1997 and Enron was a client until the bankruptcy.

Miller also denies organising Enron's Labour sponsorships, claiming they

were decided on by the company's in-house UK regulatory affairs team.

Neither Enron nor administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers were available

for comment

Leader, p8.

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