Spooks take back £50k hush money

Written By: Andrew Rosthorn
Published: February 1, 2017 Last modified: February 25, 2017

A retired spy found fifty thousand pounds stashed in her car after she emailed her life story to Tribune.

Olivia Frank’s 177,000-word memoir describes joining the Israeli Defense Forces as a teenager, flying from Manchester to Israel on a false British passport.

After being wounded on an IDF raid into Lebanon she served as an officer in the Israeli Mossad intelligence organisation under its legendary British-born deputy director David Kimche, younger brother of Jon Kimche, the wartime Zionist spy who was editor of Tribune and a colleague of George Orwell.

Olivia Frank has described David Kimche rescuing her from a city street in Germany after she blew the whistle on a combined neo-Nazi and Arab bombing team she had penetrated under deep cover as a wealthy supporter of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation.

After returning home to stay with her parents near Knott End in Lancashire, she says MI5 and MI6 recruited her for a bizarre plan to ‘sting’ the fugitive tycoon Asil Nadir as he sheltered in Turkish Northern Cyprus. Nadir escaped from England by private plane during his first abortive Old Bailey fraud trial.

The recently-widowed former spy was out shopping in England on Remembrance Day last November, when according to a letter she posted to Tribune from Shropshire,

A young man in his twenties wearing a black leather motorcycle jacket approached. He addressed me as Mrs Frank and said, ‘There’s a present in your car. Stop the book.’

When I got back to my little car on Sainsbury’s car park I discovered someone had defeated the central locking system.

Inside the boot was a black plastic bin liner that wasn’t there when I locked the car.

The money was in the bin liner. Fifty thousand in used twenty pound banknotes, all packed in 48 plastic packets and all sealed by Thomas Cook Foreign Exchange.

I can guess who sent the money and I’m sure it wasn’t the Mossad. It’s true that I have been writing down my life story. But not many people know that.

Although I worked under cover for the Mossad, then for the British MI5 and MI6 and eventually for the fugitive tycoon Asil Nadir, there are no publishers involved in my story.

Apart from reading my emails, I can’t imagine how any of my former employers could have known what I was working on. I have been living in what I thought was almost total obscurity.

The cash was totally unexpected. It threw me. I am struggling to live on benefits these days and I have just lost my husband but I dared not spend the money. I regarded it as evidence rather than unearned income.

I kept it hidden for nearly two months until January 3, just two days after the Sunday Times in London surprised everyone by revealing that Asil Nadir’s solicitors are going to appeal against his conviction for the theft of £29 million from Polly Peck plc, his own company.

I arranged for Tribune to photograph me on January 3, with the money back in the bin liner where I had found it in my Ford Ka. After the pictures were taken, I went into town carrying the money in my shoulder bag.

Ninety minutes later, that young man in black pounced again. He had been loitering in our residents’ car park. He pointed to my shoulder bag and demanded ‘the contents’. Well… I had never planned to spend that money and I certainly didn’t want to be harmed. So I let him take it all back, complete with the original black bin liner.

Olivia Frank has not been in the news since 2014 when she produced to Asil Nadir’s solicitors what appeared to be an Israeli cabinet office copy of a once-secret CIA report on Saddam Hussein’s supergun project.

The report named two British men as the assassins of the Canadian-born supergun designer Gerald Bull, shot dead in Belgium in 1990.

The un-redacted Israeli copy of the report, parts of which have been released by the CIA, suggested that a subsidiary of Asil Nadir’s London-based firm Polly Peck was used to conceal the smuggling of explosives to Saddam Hussein in Iraq, via Cyprus.

The document surfaced during preparations for Nadir’s Old Bailey trial in 2012, after a 22-year Serious Fraud Office investigation into Polly Peck plc that cost the British taxpayer £20 million.

Nadir was jailed for ten years for stealing almost £29 million from Polly Peck. He was later transferred from a British prison to Turkey after handing over £5 million to Polly Peck investors and now lives in Northern Cyprus.

The Sunday Times revealed on January 1, 2017, that Nadir’s solicitors are preparing to appeal against his conviction on the grounds of police corruption during the original investigation.

Olivia Frank says that a Mossad courier allowed her to photograph the Israeli government copy of the un-redacted CIA report that she later handed to Nadir’s London solicitors Bark & Co.

She says her mentor David Kimche shared her disillusion with the ‘rolling bloodlust’ of Israeli politics, the colonial settlements on Arab lands and the concrete walls ordered by premier Ariel Sharon.

In the draft of her book emailed to Tribune she quotes Kimche [1928-2010]:

When we heard what Sharon did, we’d had enough, we wanted no part of that. It appalled us. Blame the zealots. I thought I’d survived Hitler and the Holocaust. I’m certain now that I was wrong.

Kimche and his elder brother were born to a wealthy Swiss Jewish family living in London. Both were journalists and historians. Jon Kimche appears to have used a Swiss passport for clandestine wartime work for the British Special Operations Executive. In December 1947 he walked out of his job at Tribune to negotiate in Istanbul for the safe passage of two ships from Bulgaria bound for Palestine with thousands of Jewish refugees aboard.

David Kimche left London for Palestine in 1946, fought in the war of independence and founded the Mossad research department in 1953.

According to Lawrence Joffe’s obituary in The Guardian, Kimche was ‘the Mossad’s chief recruiting officer’ a ‘master of disguise’ and known for covert diplomacy in the Arab word as ‘the man with the suitcase’.

In 1987 the New York Times called Kimche as an Urbane Secret Agent

Reporters who have dealt with Mr. Kimche find him engaging but difficult to read. He is a man of slight build and high voice, speaking English in measured tones with a British accent that lends an air of scholarly cultivation to his quiet reasoning.

Olivia Frank referred to Kimche as Moses in the first draft of her book:

Moses knew about what went on inside the Knesset. He believed that fanatics threats to kill moderate politicians accounted for the dreadful state of Israeli politics. The right wing denied Palestinians a homeland and human rights. One day the zealots would even murder their own prime minister. Moses knew his stuff and told me that though he was a diplomat, he worked behind the scenes with Al. Meaning above they directed the top missions.

I saved lives. We broke up a bomb-making factory run by an alliance between the PLO and neo-Nazis. The German counter-terrorist unit Grenzschutzgruppe 9 rounded up the faction. Like all the best missions it was hush-hush. I was picked up afterwards by David, the mentor I was going to call ‘Moses’ in my book.

Olivia Frank says she was recruited under duress by MI5 and MI6, after she returned to care for her parents in England. She has since produced documents
showing how she was hired to commit a white collar crime in Manchester so that she could end up in a prison cell next to Asil Nadir’s personal banker Mrs Elizabeth Forsyth.

MI5 gave both me and my husband a fresh set of National Insurance numbers so that I could take a job as a security guard and wait as a ‘sleeper’ for my carefully-timed arrest.

The plan was for me to meet Elizabeth in Holloway Prison and befriend her, using her as a gateway for a meeting with Asil Nadir in Cyprus. But after I read her own book Who Killed Polly Peck? in prison we became true friends. Winning her trust led me to meeting Britain’s most wanted man. Eventually he asked me to come to meet him at his house in Istanbul. One of the barristers in the case was astonished that the CIA document I gave his solicitors was not used in Nadir’s second trial. Now I hear that Mr Nadir is to appeal against his conviction.

Tribune has confirmed from Olivia Frank’s former employer that the £26,735 she transferred from the bank account of a Greater Manchester timber company was eventually refunded.

Mrs Forsyth, now living in Cyprus, has confirmed that Olivia Frank befriended her in Holloway Prison and later occupied the adjoining cell when she was held, pending appeal, at Cookham Wood women’s prison in Kent.

Elizabeth Forsyth, a member of the Scottish McAlpine family was jailed in 1996 for laundering £400,000 in Polly Peck funds but freed in 1997 by the Court of Appeal.

In 2014 Mrs Forsyth told Tribune:

I spent ten months in high security prisons until I won my appeal. I received no compensation for what had happened to me. I won my appeal because Judge Tucker had misled the jury on seven occasions. In reality, it was nine occasions.

During my appeal hearing, one of the three judges, Lord Beldam, asked my QC if Dennis Robertson had been questioned in Asil Nadir’s first trial. Neither he nor I knew to whom he was referring. The judge then directed his question to the Serious Fraud Office who answered very quickly in the affirmative.

Dennis Robertson was the partner in charge of the Polly Peck International audit for Stoy Hayward. Prior to my trial, my solicitor had written to the SFO for a list of the people who had been questioned in AN’s trial. Dennis Robertson’s name was not on that list.

If that statement, which we eventually received after several requests to the SFO, had been given to us, it would have shown that the charge of handling £400,000 had been registered in the audited books of PPI as a genuine back-to-back transaction.

“It was some time after my successful appeal that a friend of mine, who had been closely following my trial, mentioned that she had read a book written by Gerald James, the ex-chairman of Astra. In that book, Gerald mentioned that Asil Nadir was in the arms business. I decided to meet Gerald, as I was not aware that this was the case. I ran AN’s personal businesses and I am sure that this suggestion would have appeared somehow or another.

I met Gerald at his club in Piccadilly and he said that if AN was not in the arms business then why were Astra Fireworks sending Unipac, a subsidiary company of PPI, invoices for the manufacture of propellant for the Big Gun? I was completely nonplussed. Gerald then suggested that if this event was unknown to Asil Nadir, and perhaps even to PPI, who then would have been able to open a bank account in PPI’s name?

He asked who PPI’s auditors were and I told him Stoy Hayward. Seemingly both Astra and PPI accounts were being audited by the same partner in the same firm of accountants -Dennis Robertson. Coincidentally, Dennis Robertson had taken over from a previous auditor on both accounts at the same time in late 1989.

It was therefore possible that in his position as auditor for both companies Robertson could have opened the various accounts for certain military purposes.

When I was able to speak to Asil Nadir again, I asked him whether Dennis Robertson had ever mentioned opening accounts for PPI in Switzerland. He vaguely remembered that this had been the case. Robertson had wanted to open accounts for the three Turkish subsidiaries of PPI in Switzerland for ‘tax reasons’. The companies were Unipac, Meyna and Sunzest.

Dennis Robertson was going to be called as a witness in Mr Nadir’s trial but he died in around 1992. Gerald James is totally convinced that his death was not accidental.

After the death of Dennis Robertson, the first 1992 trial of Asil Nadir was interrupted by an unprecedented police allegation of a plot to bribe the trial judge. The bribery allegation collapsed when detective chief superintendent Tom Glendinning admitted in open court that there had been no such evidence. Police informants Michael Francis and Wendy Welsher gave sworn statements in autumn 1993 that they were blackmailed and bribed to frame Asil Nadir.

See Martin Tancock on Public Interest Immunity Certificates and
their use in the Asil Nadir Trials
: Lobster magazine 66.