Taken from News of the World Online
By GIOVANNI DI STEFANO
"NOTW Online has in the past two months written about what we called State Murder. It concentrated on murder within the United States of America. State Murder is not sadly limited to the United States of America. Over the next few weeks we shall disclose at least 68 murders that occured within the time Tony Blair was Prime Minister. It will be for others to decide and take action but as always our files are available to the prosecuting authorities. This is but one case of UK State Murder."
Richard Chang, a senior business analyst working for Abbey National, died after a fall of over 80ft after an interrogation by Kroll Associates relating to an anonymous document alleging fraud by senior directors. The verdict at the Coroner's Inquest was suicide.
The circumstances surrounding Richard's death are suspicious. The parents, sisters and friends of Richard Chang do not believe he committed suicide.
The circumstances surrounding his death have not been properly investigated by the police. The police decided that Richard had committed suicide very early on in their investigation and everything was slanted towards that decision from the beginning. The police came to the decision it was a suicide because of:
1. An alleged suicide note.
2. A witness who alleged he saw Richard climb over the fifth floor balcony.
3. Howard Jones, a former detective superintendent of the Metropolitan police told the senior investigating officer that the death was not suspicious.
We investigate what was wrong with their decision.
The alleged suicide note
Three forensic reports concluded that the possibility that the signature is not genuine cannot be ruled out. The police refused Mr and Mrs Chang's repeated request to test the original note for authenticity. Richard was told not to bring anything to the meeting. Jones said he saw Richard with a notepad in the meeting. The notepad was never found. The Coroner refused to allow Mr and Mrs Chang's legal representatives to put forward any questions relating to the notepad.
Alastair Beattie, the only person who claimed to have seen Richard climb over the balcony, is not a reliable witness. His witness statement and testimony at the inquest contained major discrepancies relating to descriptions and times. Beattie started working at Abbey five weeks before Richard died. His statement stated he is a senior business analyst. His background is psychology, NLP and training by Guyanese Defence Police in jungle survival techniques.
The press officer for Abbey said in his witness statement that he saw Richard in his office on the fifth floor at 12.30. Howard Jones and Peter Pender-Cudlip said that Richard was in the meeting between 10.45 to 1pm and did not leave the room. It seems impossible for Richard to have been in two places at the same time. A witness approached the family soon after the death and confirmed that they saw Alastair Beattie being called to the CEO's office with Richard's possessions in his hands before he had spoken to the police.
The Abbey National building (now Santander) from which Richard plunged to his death
Howard Jones and Kroll Associates (corporate investigators)
Howard Jones was at the centre of a suspicious death. The senior investigating officer was influenced by the narrative given by Jones. Jones's part on the day was suspicious because:
1. He secretly recorded the interrogation with a device hidden in his briefcase. He did not give his copy of the recording of the interrogation to the police until 3 weeks after the incident. It is more than possible the tape was edited. Vincent Santeng (the other person to be interrogated at 1.30pm) swore on oath at the inquest that his recording of his interrogation had been heavily edited. He alleged the parts relating to harassment and his race were removed. Abbey claimed that Kroll did not inform them they were going to record the interrogation
Forensic analysis of audio tape of interrogation of Richard Chang
The expert witness report states:
(a) "In making the analogue copies of the digital recording the police have introduced noise which degrades the recordings because they have copied onto audio cassettes. They have also been apparently careless insofar as the audio levels for each of the four sides (of the audio tapes) are different one to the other. Also the left and right hand channels vary in level one to the other."
(b) Recording of Vincent Santeng's interrogation "The problem with this recording was that the audio level was set too high together with a 'tinny' quality throughout which resulted in distortion of the replayed audio. This makes it unsuitable to use as a control recording to compare the acoustic qualities of the interview room with the recording of the interrogation of Mr Chang."
(c) "The audio levels and break points suggest to me that the process used to generate the audio cassettes was less than satisfactory. Because of this, analysis to investigate possible editing is difficult. Also the recording of the interview with Vincent Santeng was not of good quality and was not suitable for use as a control recording."
(d) "At this stage I cannot go further than to say that it is possible that editing has taken place."
2. Jones requested that no witnesses from Abbey should be present and that Richard should be interviewed on his own.
3. The alleged suicide note was addressed to Jones.
4. Jones stated that the anonymous document contained allegations of fraud and corruption. He said in the interrogation he believed in part that these allegations were true.
5. The senior directors' selection process used to select Richard and his line manager was fundamentally flawed. The police refuse to release documents which may show Richard did not write the anonymous document (and therefore would not have had a motive to commit suicide).
The Financial Services Authority (FSA)
Nathan Bostock (Head of Abbey Treasury service), Karen Fortunato (Company Secretary) and Robin Parkinson (Legal Manager), told the police that the FSA had advised Abbey that whoever wrote the anonymous document was a threat to security. This was main reason given to the police why Richard had been called into the meeting, without notice that he was to be interrogated and hence denied his employment right to have a representative present to ensure fair play. The Employee Relations Officer said he had a feeling that someone was going to be mistreated by management. The FSA have confirmed in writing that they did not give any advice to Abbey about the anonymous document.
The Coroner's post mortem was not a forensic post mortem
The pathologist is a medical expert who determines the cause of death. The post mortem report stated: 'Marks of violence. Treatment and identification: Large gaping deep laceration on the forehead and involved the left eye. Severe compound skull fractures with extruded brain tissue received in separate bag. Triple small circular bruises in a line on right shoulder. And red bruise to the front on right upper arm. Small red abrasion on right elbow. Superficial abrasions on the shins and front of the ankles. Fracture deformity of left leg. No other significant marks of violence.'
The pathologist conducted the post mortem based on the fact that the death was not suspicious.
Dr Freddy Patel
A forensic post mortem was not carried out. The pathologist did not turn up at the inquest so Mr and Mrs Chang's legal representatives were not able to put further questions to him. Dr Freddie Patel, the pathologist, made a mistake in the Anthony Hardy case about the cause of death. He ruled that the victim had died of natural causes when in fact he had been murdered (see below).
Other post-mortems conducted by Dr Patel
Anthony Hardy, who killed three women and mutilated two of them to satisfy his "depraved and perverted" sexual cravings, was jailed for life. Anthony Hardy dismembered two of his victims, leaving their body parts in bin bags near his home in Camden, north London. Nine months earlier, officers had discovered the body of another woman in his flat, but her death had been put down to natural causes by Dr Patel.
Dr Patel and Anthony Hardy
Dr Patel claimed that she died of a heart attack and not foul play. However, her death from 'natural causes' would later be questioned when the remains of other women were discovered in Hardy's flat. It emerged that Hardy had also previously been investigated about a series of rapes. He pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to all three murders.
The Inquest dismissed marks of violence.
Witnesses said prior to the fall there was no shouting or sound from Richard. Several witnesses confirmed that there was hardly any or no blood where the body landed. It appears that the body landed head first on the left hand side of the head. Witnesses have confirmed that part of the skull broke away and brain tissue splattered on the walls and area around the body. The post mortem confirmed that the cerebral arteries were severed. Our legal representatives at the inquest confirmed that the photographs shown to them of the deceased lying on the floor showed no blood.
Richard's medical records
Medical records prove conclusively that Richard did not have any history of mental illness. They also show Richard had a weak right wrist due to an injury he had sustained about 15 years previously. It has been confirmed at the time of his death that his wrist was arthritic.
The Coroner and Health and Safety
Health and Safety have confirmed that they received a call a few days after the death telling them that they were treating the death as a suicide. The Coroner did not give his consent for the police report to be released to the Health and Safety team, even though they had requested it. As a result, they did not know that the death was related to an incident at work and as a result, no investigation was ever done on their part.
The Coroner and ACAS
The Coroner stated that he would be making a report in which he would make recommendations and ACAS would be invited to look at it. ACAS have confirmed that they have never received a copy.
Calls made on the day
Richard called his mother at 9.15am telling her that he would be arriving in Birmingham at 6pm that evening with his family. Howard Jones stated the interrogation allegedly started at 10.45am to 1.05pm.Richard's wife spoke to him by telephone at 10.57am, 11am, and 1pm during the interrogation.
His wife said that in their last conversation, Richard said he would call her back after the meeting had finished but never did. Richard's line manager was also interviewed at 1.30-2.30pm and called Richard at 1.18pm. He said that Richard said he would meet him back at his desk in 5 minutes but never turned up.
Richard's colleagues from Abbey National informed the family that it was highly suspicious and that Richard would not have taken his life. They gave witness statements to the police concerning senior directors and alleged corruption and these were never followed up by the police, CPS and the Coroner, Dr Anthony Reid.
At the time of his death, Chang was working on a project called Basel II. This was an international business standard that required financial institutions to maintain enough cash reserves to cover risks incurred by operations.
In 2001, the Government blocked Lloyds TSB's £18.2 billion takeover bid for rival Abbey National, saying the merger would be against the public interest.
In 2002, Abbey National was described as "a disgrace to Britain's savings industry. It may not be in the same league as Equitable Life, but it is not far off. Abbey has behaved in an irresponsible and cavalier fashion, lending money by the bucket-load to companies that have either gone bust, or look as if they might. Financial controls and risk management appear to have gone out of the window."
In 2003, Abbey National reported a £1 billion loss and the accounts showed an after-tax profit of £34 million yet an interim dividend of £76 million was paid!
Just 13 days after Chang died, Abbey National was taken over by Spain's biggest bank in a deal valued at £8 billion, some £11 billion less than was offered by Lloyds TSB two years previously.
During the interrogation of Chang, he admitted consulting the Sarbans-Oxley Act which deals with criminal penalties for altering of corporate documents.
Stephen Hester called in Kroll Associates. Hester began his career in 1982 with Credit Suisse. In 1996 he was appointed to the executive board. In May 2002 he joined Abbey National as Finance Director. He then went on to become Chief Operating Officer, a position he held until November 2004 when he was appointed Chief Executive of British Land.
Hester was appointed non-executive deputy chairman of the newly nationalised Northern Rock by Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling in March 2008, to take a non-executive position on the board of Royal Bank of Scotland. On 21 November 2008, he replaced Sir Fred Goodwin as Chief Executive of the RBS Group. Hester is paid an annual salary of £1.2 million by RBS. Alongside this, he took home £7.7m in bonus and pension payments.
Nathan Bostock was named in the anonymous document and was responsible for selecting Richard for interrogation. He was head of Abbey National Treasury Service when Richard died. Mr Nathan Bostock has been the Head of Restructuring & Risk at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (RBS) since 1 June 2009, and is responsible for the risk and legal functions within it. Mr Bostock has been Chief Executive of wholesale at Lloyds Banking Group since 19 July 2011. He has vast experience in wholesale markets and a deep understanding of risk management.
Bostock served as Executive Director of Human Resources of Abbey National plc from January 2007 to 1 June 2009, and served as its Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director of Retail Products & Marketing and Credit Cards & Insurance from January 2007 until 1 June 2009.
Mr Bostock served as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director of Retail Products & Marketing, HR, Credit Cards and Insurance of Alliance & Leicester plc, a subsidiary of Santander UK plc, from October 2008 to 1 June 2009. He served as Executive Director of Finance & Markets at Santander UK plc since 22 February 2005.
He joined Santander UK plc in November 2001 as Chief Operating Officer of Abbey National Treasury Services plc with responsibility for finance, market risk and operations. Prior to Santander, he served as Director of Group Risk Management and Chief Operating Officer, Treasury and Capital Markets at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc from 1992 to 2001. Mr Bostock served as the Head of Risk Analysis and Finance, Treasury and Interest Rate Derivatives (Europe) for Chase Manhattan Bank from 1988 to 1992.
He served with Chase Manhattan Bank since 1986, where he served in a variety of areas and functions. He previously worked with Coopers & Lybrand. Mr Bostock served as an Executive Director of Alliance &
Richard Chang's sisters and other family members campaign for the truth of his death to be made public
Leicester plc from October 2008 to 1 June 2009. He served as an Executive Director of Santander UK plc from 22 February 2005 to 1 June 2009.
Jacqueline Chang, the sister of Richard, summed up the situation in simple terms: "My brother did not commit suicide but was murdered by the State because of what he discovered."
In such suspicious circumstances, this paper concurs.
GIOVANNI DI STEFANO