Friday, 1 October 2010

A story you may not have read elsewhere

A story from the National Enquirer - whose website is blocked in Britain for reasons not entirely unconnected with libel laws - suggests that Prince William's wedding plans have been put on hold due to a financial scandal involving Kate Middleton's brother James.

According to the report (which you may be able to find by using a proxy server) "James Middleton works for a get-rich-quick investment firm that is now under investigation for possible illegal financial hanky-panky." Worried royal advisers are supposedly fearful that if the wedding goes ahead next year - as widely rumoured - it could be overshadowed by legal proceedings. "The last thing the royal family wants is to have Wills' future brother-in-law arrested during the wedding festivities," a royal "insider" is quoted as saying. June 2012 is said to be the likeliest new date - though surely that would clash with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

The date of a so-far unannounced royal wedding is of no interest to me. What is interesting is that what is surely a huge story - the brother of our potential future queen being investigated for fraud - is being freely reported in the United States but totally ignored here. Normally, the mere fact that the Financial Services Authority is investigating someone or something would not be subject to a media blackout. I should stress that no arrests have yet been made and no-one has been charged with anything. I have no idea whether reporting of the matter is subject to a secret super-injunction; but I can't in any case see what grounds there could possibly be for injuncting information which does not concern anyone's private life. It would seem to be manifestly in the public interest to publicise a possible financial scam, whoever may be involved in it, if only to warn potential investors.

Is this a case of the British media hiding things from the British public purely to spare the blushes of the House of Windsor?

P.S. Ben Shepherd points out that the Mail covered the story back in August - albeit without any suggestion that it could lead to the wedding itself being postponed. Have things suddenly become more serious? The answer will depend on how authoritative the Enquirer's "royal insider" is. Still, it's interesting to learn that the otherwise little-known firm under investigation is being represented by Carter-Ruck, just like Trafigura and the Church of Scientology. It's always a sure sign of an honest business with nothing to hide.

I apologise to the British press for doubting their journalistic integrity. Perhaps I should have gone with the story about John Travolta's alleged penchant for anonymous gay sex instead. That hasn't been reported here. I don't think.