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Ken Livingstone: J'accuse

Cicero has received some very interesting responses to "Mr. Livingstone, I presume"

In particular the investigative journalist, Vitali Vitaliev, has pointed out what may be the most egregious display of public corruption since the Poulson scandal of the 1970s. His extensive article on the subject will be published shortly.

Ken Livingstone is using Londoners' money to support a dictator that Human Rights Watch accuses of multiple allegations of murder and torture: Hugo Chavez of "the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela". In particular, Livingstone has negotiated a deal to swap Venezuelan oil for surveillance, finger printing and closed circuit television expertise. Several London officials are being seconded to assist the government of Venezuela to install the equipment. Incidentally, the original story that the oil would power London Transport buses can not be true- it is the wrong grade- the oil instead will be sold on the global market- (to whose profit?).

Meanwhile the Venezuela Information Centre- chairman Ken Livingstone- has been set up and is currently being run from City Hall. The purpose of this is "to actively promote Venezuela's image in the UK". No details of any financial arrangements for the Mayor have been published.

Ken Livingstone is in the dock.

The charges:

1) Why is Livingstone supporting a regime with such a vile human rights record by providing technology that will actively assist the Venezuelan secret police?

2) What money is being made on the sale of oil? How does this benefit the impoverished population of Venezuela? When will he declare the total financial value of the transaction?

3) How is Mr. Livingstone being paid for his work in the Venezuela Information Centre?

4) Has the Mayor acted outside his authority by concluding such an agreement with a foreign government?

5) Hugo Chavez has referred to the British Prime Minister and leader of his party, as a "main ally of Hitler".

Does Mr. Livingstone care?

If not, why not?

6) Can Mr. Livingstone guarantee that neither he personally, his party, his office nor any of his associates are financially benefiting in any way from these extensive and largely undeclared financial transactions?

Vitali Vitaliev's accusations are even more extensive, and even more serious.

Mr. Livingstone has a case to answer.

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