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Denver Inc.: 'Bizarre,' Anschutz rep says of report
By Jane Hoback & Gil Rudawsky
Rocky Mountain News
Monday, October 23, 2006


The flak over the connection between Denver billionaire Phil Anschutz and British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott just won't go away.  But the latest installment has prompted Anschutz Co. officials, normally reluctant to comment on the stories originating in the British tabloids, to break their silence.

British businessman George Bathurst had reported the hospitality and gifts Anschutz gave Prescott to the U.S. Justice Department, citing laws banning U.S. businesses from attempting to bribe foreign officials, according to The Associated Press, quoting a story in the Times of London.

Prescott received a slap on the wrist from a parliamentary ethics panel for not immediately disclosing that he stayed at Anschutz's ranch in Wyoming and had accepted a cowboy outfit from him.  But the panel said Prescott had "acted correctly" in belatedly declaring the trip and recommended no other action.

Anschutz is seeking a license to open a casino at the Millennium Dome in London.  Prescott has said the two never discussed the issue.

Enough is enough, Anschutz's representatives here say.

In a statement Friday, Anschutz Co. spokesman Jim Monaghan said:  "We do not normally respond to personal and political attacks nor do we intend to start doing so.  However, in this instance, the accusations by Mr. Bathurst -- a frequent critic of Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Labour Government -- is so far beyond the pale we must call it for what it is:  simply bizarre."

"That's why Scotland Yard wouldn't even investigate his accusations and why people in Britain don't take him seriously."

"Who in their right mind would really believe that a company investing over 650 million pounds in London and the regeneration of the Greenwich Peninsula would even think to influence a high-ranking public official with off-the-shelf boots, a cowboy hat and belt buckle?  That's absurd.'

"What the . . . media should be questioning are Mr. Bathurst's interests and who he represents."

Assistant Business Editor Jane Hoback and Deputy Business Editor Gil Rudawsky write about local business talk that doesn't necessarily end up in quarterly reports. They can be reached at business@com.

About Jane Hoback & Gil Rudawsky
Jane Hoback and Gil Rudawsky are assistant business editors. They write about local business talk that doesn't necessarily end up in quarterly reports. They can be reached at business@rockymountainnews.com

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/business_columnists/article/0,1299,DRMN_82_5082899,00.html