Glenn jets in to have his say on donation

By Audrey Young

Businessman Owen Glenn remains so adamant that Winston Peters personally asked him for a donation to fund his legal fees that he is flying from Monaco to Wellington to tell the privileges committee about it next week.

Mr Glenn is expected to testify on Tuesday that he had more than one conversation with Mr Peters about it, as well as being thanked for it personally at the 2006 Karaka yearling sales.

He implied in evidence released by the committee yesterday that Mr Peters spoke to him about the money on December 14, 2005, and said that later that day Mr Peters' lawyer Brian Henry emailed Mr Glenn with his bank account details for payment.

Mr Peters and Mr Henry have testified that it was Mr Henry who sought the $100,000 donation and that the first Mr Peters knew about it was on July 18 this year. The money funded Mr Peters' unsuccessful electoral petition for the Tauranga seat.

Yesterday, the privileges committee released a second letter from Mr Glenn which gives more details of how he says the donation came to be made.

And he is adamant Mr Peters asked for it, not Mr Henry.

"I do not recall that I had any conversation with Mr Henry about my donation," Mr Glenn said.

"There is absolutely no doubt that the request came to me from Mr Peters. I would not have made the donation on any other basis through any intermediary. I did not do so."

Mr Peters appeared before the privileges committee yesterday with lawyer Peter Williams, QC.

Mr Williams tabled a statement that suggests that if Mr Glenn had sent the money at Mr Peters' request, Mr Peters would have sent a thank-you note.

"The absence of such correspondence indicates that Mr Glenn's memory is faulty and his dealings were with Mr Henry."

With such conflicting testimony between Mr Peters and Mr Glenn, there appears very little room for the "innocent explanation" that Prime Minister Helen Clark thought might resolve the matter at an earlier stage.

If Mr Glenn's version were somehow proven to be true, Helen Clark would be forced to sack Mr Peters.

If Mr Peters' version were proven to be true, such as through Mr Henry producing phone records of two conversations with Mr Glenn, it could provide a huge boost to Mr Peters' fight for his political survival.

Mr Peters' New Zealand First Party is in crisis, with him stood down as Foreign Minister while the Serious Fraud Office investigates donations to the Spencer Trust.

Mr Glenn's donation was not to the Spencer Trust but was paid to Mr Henry's account on December 22, 2005.

Mr Glenn's letter yesterday reveals that he received an email from Mr Henry on December 14, 2005.

"That email from Mr Henry refers to an earlier telephone conversation between me and a person Mr Henry refers to as 'my client' that same day.

"My recollection is that I was called by Mr Peters to seek financial assistance for his electoral petition challenge. I agreed to that request because I understood that it would be of assistance to the Labour Party, which had the confidence and supply agreement with New Zealand first at the time we spoke."

Mr Henry has previously told the committee that he phoned Mr Glenn at the suggestion of a client, whose name he did not have permission to disclose, but that it was not Mr Peters.

- NZ Herald

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