(Additional information from Sunak, BBC, updated general BBC review)
By Paul Sandle
LONDON, Jan 23 (Reuters) – BBC chairman Richard Sharp said his role in securing a loan for former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was no more than meeting a friend. old is willing to help a government office at the end of 2020.
Sharp, a former Goldman Sachs banker, however, said the broadcaster’s selection committee will check whether all relevant guidelines have been followed within the BBC since he joined.
Both men faced questions after the Sunday Times reported that Sharp had helped secure a loan that allowed Johnson to receive up to 800,000 pounds ($988,240.00), before the prime minister recommended it. at that time to Sharp for the job at the largest broadcasting company in the UK.
He applied to become chairman of the BBC during the launch, and was offered the role in January 2021.
A BBC spokesman said: “The BBC has no role in the appointment of the chair and any question is a matter for the government.”
Sharp said in a letter to BBC staff that he does not want the issue to be a distraction from the challenges facing broadcasting.
“I was not involved in making a loan, or setting up a guarantee, and I did not set up a financing,” he said in the letter, provided by the BBC.
“What I did was find an introduction of (an old friend) Sam Blyth to the appropriate government office.”
He said, he has agreed with the leaders of the government to avoid any conflict, he will not do anything else in the matter. Blyth was also Johnson’s distant cousin.
Sharp said that he had no influence on any subsequent process and that he did not know anything more than what was reported in the media about a loan, or a guarantee that was reported.
The Sunday Times said the loan was completed in February 2021, with Blyth’s role as a guarantor revealed within the following month.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday that the appointment process is difficult and independent. “It is clear and published on the internet and the appointment of Mr Sharp went through the whole process,” he told reporters.
Johnson told Sky News on Monday that the dispute was “absolutely stupid”.
“Let me tell you Richard Sharp is a good and wise man but he really knows something about my personal finances,” he said.
Sharp said the government has confirmed that he was appointed on merit and that the recruitment process was followed properly.
He said, the selection committee will publish the result of its review for the sake of transparency. ($1 = 0.8095 pounds) (Additional reporting by Muvija M and Kylie MacLellan; Writing by Paul Sandle. Editing by Sharon Singleton)