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According to Ofcom, the portrayal of a tax haven critic in a BBC documentary about the Brink’s-Mat gold bullion robbery was inaccurate.
In March, The Gold: Inside Story documented the events of November 1983 when a group of armed individuals forcibly entered the Brink’s-Mat security depot near London’s Heathrow Airport.
The focus was also placed on determining the whereabouts of the lost gold and examining banking procedures during that period.
On Monday, the media regulatory agency Ofcom released a report stating that it had supported a claim of “inequitable or unjust treatment” from Arthur Lewis-Grey. Lewis-Grey claims to have previously worked as a lawyer for offshore tax havens before leaving and becoming vocal in his criticism of them.
According to the Ofcom report, Mr. Lewis-Grey stated that the documentary reused footage of him without proper context from an ITV World In Action program that aired in the 1980s.
According to him, the program produced by the BBC portrayed him as a “keen promoter” of offshore financial services in the Isle of Man, regardless of the results.
Mr. Lewis-Grey stated that he was recently shifted from discussing tax avoidance and evasion to casually commenting on serious and deadly crimes.
He mentioned that he is currently employed in ensuring banks abide by regulations, and his looks contradict his role in those institutions.
According to Mr Lewis-Grey, several individuals have reached out to him after watching the program.
The Brink’s-Mat bullion, valued at £26 million, was involved in one of the biggest global money-laundering schemes of its time and resulted in several murders.
A large portion of the three tons of gold that was stolen has not been found and some of the people believed to be responsible were not found guilty.
According to the BBC, the video was only a small portion of a larger examination of the tax avoidance industry during the 1980s. It also explored how this industry enabled the illegal movement of profits from criminal activities.
The broadcaster stated that Mr. Lewis-Grey’s input was short enough that viewers could not speculate about his intentions or view him as a strong advocate for offshore services.
The company has acknowledged the need for improved clarity and has made significant efforts to address the problem, such as removing the clip from the BBC iPlayer version.
The BBC has announced that they will not air or distribute the show in its original form, including the particular segment in question.
According to Ofcom, Mr. Lewis-Grey’s identity was not disclosed and he only appeared briefly, making it unlikely that viewers would specifically connect him with discussing the Brink’s-Mat robbery.
The watchdog for broadcasting also mentioned that in the absence of the information that he was a detractor of tax havens, viewers may have perceived his statements as promoting the advantages of offshore financial services.
The watchdog stated that Ofcom believed the use of Mr Lewis-Grey’s interview footage in the BBC program was not shown in a suitable context. This led to the complainant being portrayed inaccurately, potentially impacting viewers’ opinions of him in a negative manner.
Ofcom determined that the complainant was treated unfairly in the aired program.
“Ofcom has ruled in favor of Mr. Lewis-Grey’s complaint regarding unjust or unfair treatment on the aired program.”
A representative from the BBC stated that the organization acknowledged Ofcom’s findings and chose not to provide additional comments.
The TV program, The Gold, debuted in February and featured a six-episode series with actors Hugh Bonneville, Jack Lowden, and Dominic Cooper.
The show chronicled the unfolding events over many years following the incident that was dubbed the “crime of the century”.