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CRAIG BROWN: How a dodgy tour guide duped a professor into thinking Jesus was married


Veritas: A Harvard Professor, A Con Man, And The Gospel Of Jesus’s Wife

Ariel Sabar                                                                                                   Scribe £18.99

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In 2012, at a conference theatrically staged across from the Vatican, the Harvard Professor of Divinity, Dr Karen King, announced that she had discovered a fragment of ancient papyrus she called The Gospel Of Jesus’s Wife. 

Though it consisted of only a few words, and was no bigger than a business card, this fragment seemed to point to the astonishing fact that Jesus had been married to Mary Magdalene.

This extraordinary finding made headlines all over the world. If true – and who could doubt a Harvard Professor of Divinity? – it suggested that the Christian interpretation of the New Testament was seriously awry, and that the Church had been wrong to sideline women.

Pictured above, Correggio’s Noli Me Tangere (c 1525), depicting Mary Magdalene and Jesus after His resurrection

Pictured above, Correggio’s Noli Me Tangere (c 1525), depicting Mary Magdalene and Jesus after His resurrection

‘It makes a big difference…’ declared Dr King, some years later. ‘It affects who gets to be in charge, who gets to preach and teach, who can be pure and holy. Should people be married or not? 

Can you be divorced or not? Is sexuality sinful, by definition? All of this depends on the kind of story you tell.’

As well as being a renowned theologian, King had long been a vehement advocate of women’s rights within the Christian churches. From what she said, this ancient fragment confirmed everything she had ever believed.

But it did not take long before her extravagant claims for The Gospel Of Jesus’s Wife met a backlash. The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, dismissed the papyrus as an ‘inept forgery… with a twisted bias to match a modern ideology’.

Scholars of all denominations, and none, were almost as sceptical. One said that the script on the papyrus looked like 21st Century handwriting. Another called it ‘hilarious’, the work of a modern author who might have benefited from more lessons in Coptic, the language of the New Testament.

Scholars of all denominations, and none, were almost as sceptical. One said that the script on the papyrus (above) looked like 21st Century handwriting

Scholars of all denominations, and none, were almost as sceptical. One said that the script on the papyrus (above) looked like 21st Century handwriting 

But Dr King stood her ground. She was adamant that the papyrus was genuine: after all, it had been authenticated by experts. One papyrologist, a professor at Princeton, had been particularly impressed by the clumsiness of the fragment.

‘If you were a forger, you wouldn’t do that,’ she said.

Others agreed that a competent forger would have employed better handwriting, and a better pen. ‘That is one of the things that tells you it’s real,’ said the director of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University. 

‘A modern scribe wouldn’t do that.’

The logic of this argument is that if something looks like a fake, then it must be real, as a proper forger would have made more of an effort.

Dr Karen King (above) stood her ground. She was adamant that the papyrus was genuine: after all, it had been authenticated by experts

Dr Karen King (above) stood her ground. She was adamant that the papyrus was genuine: after all, it had been authenticated by experts

Interestingly, this has been the same argument used to validate countless frauds down the years. My wife, Frances Welch, wrote a book about Anna Anderson, the woman who claimed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, saying she had, as a child, miraculously escaped the assassination of the rest of the Russian royal family. 

Anderson didn’t look anything like Anastasia, could speak neither French nor English, both of which were used in the Russian court, and muddled up basic facts. But her supporters – who included prominent members of the Romanov family – insisted that these discrepancies were signs of her authenticity. 

After all, they reasoned, a halfway-competent fraud would make a better job of lying.

The same was true of the Tichborne Claimant. In 1854, Roger Tichborne, the skinny 25-year-old heir to a vast fortune, was lost at sea, presumed dead. Twelve years later, a butcher from Wagga Wagga in Australia appeared on the scene, claiming to be Tichborne. 

He spoke with a broad Australian accent, showed no knowledge of the childhood or education of the person he claimed to be, and didn’t have any of young Roger’s tattoos. 

But those who wanted to believe the impostor – and they included the dead man’s mother, who longed for her son to be alive –took all these anomalies as sure signs that he was telling the truth.

And, more recently, the same skewed logic was applied to the bogus Hitler diaries by those who wanted them to be real. The handwriting was unlike Hitler’s, the ink was too new, the paper was dodgy, and the bindings included a material dated to 1953. 

But, once again, wishful thinking won out, and the believers – journalists, historians – convinced themselves that the diaries must be authentic because no forger would be so hopeless.

Biblical forgeries are not uncommon. In 1991, a version of The Gospel Of Thomas, newly unearthed by a specialist called Batson D. Sealing, was published by the Oxford University journal Discussions In Egyptology. 

When a scholar wrote up the find for the Financial Times, his daughter noticed something funny about the name of its discoverer. Didn’t Batson D. Sealing sound suspiciously like Bats On The Ceiling? 

That particular issue of the journal was immediately recalled, and republished without the forgery.

The author of this book, Ariel Sabar, followed the case of The Gospel Of Jesus’s Wife from its start. The most dogged of investigators, his suspicions multiplied at every turn. 

IT’S A FACT

The theory that Jesus married Mary Magdalene has been a persistent one and is at the heart of Dan Brown’s bestseller The Da Vinci Code.

Who had given the original fragments to Prof King, and why? Karen King refused to reveal her source, saying that she had guaranteed his anonymity. But Sabar stayed on the case and, step by step, the story he uncovered was almost unbelievably odd.

He traced the fragment to one Walter Fritz, a German then living in Florida. Fritz had once worked as a tour guide in West Berlin’s Egyptian Museum, where bits of loose papyrus had mysteriously gone missing. 

In the early 1990s he had gone on to run the Stasi Museum in what had been East Berlin. When he moved to Florida, his career took a surprising turn: in 2003 he developed a successful online business charging for pornographic videos of his wife, ‘Jenny Seemore’.

Meanwhile, in her free time, ‘Jenny Seemore’ ran a home crafts business called Cute Art World, selling teddy bears and mermaids, as well as pendants of the Virgin Mary and the Baby Jesus, which came complete with tiny fragments of papyrus ‘over 1,800 years old’ for a very reasonable $12.99.

It seemed to Sabar unlikely that a man with such an exceedingly dodgy background was to be trusted as a key source of ancient Christian texts. But when he returned to Prof King with his discoveries, she refused to listen. 

‘I don’t see the point of a conversation,’ she said, adding that she was ‘not particularly’ interested in where her precious fragments had come from.

The Gospel Of Jesus’s Wife is now acknowledged as a forgery. With the acute antennae of the con man, Fritz had targeted Karen King because he sensed her eagerness to believe in anything that backed up her feminist beliefs.

He lured her using all the methods of the skilled con man, explaining that he had an ancient fragment, but he didn’t know if it was worth anything. As Sabar suggests, Fritz’s initial emails to the professor ‘led King to water, but it was she who had decided to drink’.

‘The true con artist doesn’t force us to do anything,’ a psychologist is quoted as saying. ‘He doesn’t steal. We give. He doesn’t have to threaten us. We supply the story ourselves. 

We believe because we want to, not because anyone made us. And so we offer up whatever they want – money, reputation, trust, fame, legitimacy, support – and we don’t realise what is happening until it is too late.’

King had been so keen to believe the fraud that, as Sabar was to discover, she secretly roped in old friends and relatives to authenticate it.

Ariel Sabar tells a fascinating story, but at too great a length. Having sleuthed around with extraordinary diligence for years and years, he is understandably reluctant to shed any details of his investigation. 

This means that, for all its integrity, the book lacks zip: page after page is devoted to whether or not the forger was molested as a child or to the intricacies of the various gospels that had to compete for a place in the Bible.

Incidentally, I’ve just noticed that Ariel Sabar is an anagram of Israel Arab. What on earth can this mean? If any con man has an explanation, I’ll be all ears. 



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Fury over ‘dodgy dossier of Covid models’ after doomsday graph which predicted 1,500 daily deaths


The Government and its scientific advisers were lambasted today for using ‘dodgy coronavirus data’ to justify a devastating second lockdown.

Tory MPs warned SAGE’s doomsday predictions – wheeled out by Boris Johnson on Saturday night to announce the draconian measures – had echoes of the controversial dossier that sent Britain to war with Iraq.   

It emerged last night a graph brandished at the same gloomy press conference that claimed England could see up to 1,500 deaths a day by December had been secretly toned down ‘after an error was found’ in the data. 

The prediction caused widespread alarm because, if true, it would dwarf the 1,000 daily deaths recorded during the peak of the first wave in April.

SAGE’s forecast for hospital admissions was also quietly revised from 9,000 by early December to 6,190.

Tory MPs Marcus Fysh and Peter Bone warned public confidence was being eroded because data of ‘such bad quality’ was being used to usher in such detrimental policies.

The compared it to the ‘dodgy dossier’ on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, which were used to take the country to war in the Middle East. All of the allegations included in the 2003 document have been since proven to be false.

Scientists and doctors told MailOnline the fact Number 10 amended its charts without telling the public showed ‘those at the top are trying to suppress things and cover up their mistakes’.

The slides now contain a note which says: ‘Plots on slides four and five have been amended after an error was found’

The revised figures now suggest the second peak is likely to be on par with the first with the worst-case scenario at 1,010 deaths a day by December

The revised figures now suggest the second peak is likely to be on par with the first with the worst-case scenario at 1,010 deaths a day by December 

According to the Daily Telegraph, the charts which once predicted 1,500 deaths by December now contain a note which says: ‘Plots on slides four and five have been amended after an error was found’. 

Mr Fysh told MailOnline: ‘I have been concerned a while about the quality of the data and the quality of the analysis by the medial advisory team. 

‘Obviously the trends are serious, particularly in some areas in the North West and north East, London and the Midlands and we need to respect that. 

‘Confidence is everything in this… we need to build the confidence in the system. That is why we also need to not have dodgy charts produced like the Iraq war. A dodgy dossier is not something that builds public confidence. The opposite is true.’ 

The Yeovil MP said he would not have tolerated the quality of analysis in his previous career as a city fund manager. 

He said: ‘If analysts had come to me with some of this stuff, you would have just said please don’t call me again. It’s such bad quality.

‘I do fear the government is being led by advice which isn’t well founded. They need to challenge these scientists on SAGE who clearly haven’t done enough of the challenging themselves. You just can’t take what they advise on face value.’ 

Marcus Fysh

Peter Bone

Tory MPs Marcus Fysh and Peter Bone warned public confidence was being eroded because data of ‘such bad quality’ was being used to usher in such detrimental policies.

England’s sea of green: Covid infections had dropped in 82 of the country’s 149 local authorities (and in more than half of London) BEFORE lockdown even started 

Coronavirus infection rates were already plummeting across England before the second national lockdown was imposed, according to official statistics that suggest Boris Johnson should have held his nerve for another week before pressing the panic button.

MailOnline’s analysis of Public Health England’s weekly coronavirus surveillance report, released last night, shows a sea of green has swept across the country. More than half of local authorities — including hotspots of Blackburn with Darwen, Manchester and Nottingham — recorded a drop in Covid-19 cases in the final week of October.  

The brightening picture suggests No10’s three-tier lockdown system — which had received international praise for being ‘very effective’ in the north — was successfully pummeling the disease into submission before over-zealous ministers pulled the shutters down once again.

Top scientists insisted England’s outbreak could ‘look a lot worse’ and praised the tiered system, which banned socialising under the toughest measures. But they conceded stricter curbs were probably needed in the south and argued health chiefs were too slow to drag areas into higher brackets.

More than three quarters of London’s 32 boroughs — including two of the worst-affected boroughs in Ealing, as well as Hammersmith and Fulham — also saw their infection rates start to drop, the data suggested. 

At the other end of the scale, however, a handful of authorities saw rises above 40 per cent, including in a corner of Kent, part of East Yorkshire, Swindon in the South West and Dudley in the West Midlands.

As many as 82 out of England’s 149 local authorities recorded drops in their infection rates in the week up to November 1, the most recent snapshot from Public Health England suggests.

The largest decline was recorded in Rutland, in the East Midlands, where infections dived by almost 40 per cent from 107.7 to 65.12 cases per 100,000 people. 

In Tier Three Liverpool and Lancashire infections declined across all local authorities by more than ten per cent, in the biggest sign yet that the harshest restrictions – forcing restaurants to offer takeaway only, banning mixing between households and closing pubs – were driving down infections.

Both had been under the restrictions for about two weeks, which experts say is about the length of time it takes for interventions to start taking effect.

This is because anyone who is infected at the time measures come in will normally clear the virus in a week or two. 

Across Tier Three Greater Manchester seven out of ten local authorities saw infections slip downwards, while no area saw its infections rise at a level above seven per cent.

Data on the city’s infection rates is only available for the first ten days Tier Three measures were in place, meaning the impact of the restrictions is not yet clear. But the declines signal that the highest tier was achieving its aim of pushing down escalating infections.

At the other end of the scale, the data revealed some areas were still seeing rises in infections: And the biggest rise in infections was registered in Medway, Kent, where infections surged by 55 per cent from 88.31 to 136.42 per 100,000.

It was followed by Hull, where infections surged 52 per cent from 300.3 to 457.3 per 100,000.

Mr Fysh pointed out that many outbreaks had been among students. ‘For a while Exeter looked like it was having a massive outbreak. That was because they were testing all the students to get control of the situation.

‘I’m not saying it hasn’t leaked out and doesn’t need addressing. But we just need better interpretation of this data overall.’

Mr Fysh said he had ‘huge sympathy’ for the PM. ‘I think he has been bounced by bad advice.’     

Tory MP Peter Bone also complained that the lockdown decision appeared to have been justified with an Iraq-style ‘dodgy dossier of Covid graphs’.

‘It feels to me like we were getting propaganda. We were only getting things that proved the government’s case.

‘Those figures now seem to have been based on false assumptions or been incorrectly calculated.

‘Other ones that point in a different direction haven’t been disclosed. So it is a bit of a dodgy dossier really.’

‘I wasn’t there when Iraq decision was made but obviously there was this dossier produced to support the policy, rather than being neutral information for people to make their mind up. Maybe all the information that we have been seeing is being done to support a decision that had already been made.’

He told MailOnline the PHE report bore out figures he was seeing for Northamptonshire, and suggested the Tiers had been working before the blanket lockdown.

‘This is why I found it difficult to understand why we abandoned the Tier approach. And we now know by their own admission that the modelling was wrong,’ he said.

‘There are lies, damn lies and Covid statistics. Nobody has explained why we abandoned the Tier approach, unless it was they saw this dreadful model from scientists saying you’re going to get 4,000 people dying every day. At the moment there doesn’t seem to be any evidence we’re moving in that direction.’

Mr Bone said there seemed to be a ‘knee jerk reaction’ to the dire warnings from scientists, and the PM was ‘bounced’.

‘The danger with this is decisions are made, for instance to keep hospital beds empty because they expect Covid patients and not put in people who need cancer tests and all that sort of thing… it has a health effect that causes more deaths.’ 

Professor Paul Hunter, an epidemiologist at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline the latest revelation was ‘disappointing to say the least’.

He added: ‘Errors do happen and need to be corrected as soon as possible. But getting errors in such high profile headline statistics like this and then having to correct them does undermine trust in the data presented.

‘It’s interesting that the epidemic seems to have been slowing even before we went into this latest lockdown, and now the increase in hospitalisations in England may even have slowed as well but too early to be sure, we need another three or four days of data. But it is beginning to look like maybe things were already heading in the right direction.’  

Karol Sikora, a consultant oncologist and professor of medicine at the University of Buckingham, claimed it was evidence that ‘those at the top were trying to suppress things and cover up their mistakes’.

He added: ‘We should be in the land of openness, we’re seven months into this pandemic. And we’re still getting daily data that is badly presented and badly handled. 

‘I think they need to get more practical people behind them, at the moment it’s a bunch of epidemiologists [in SAGE] who are good at maths, but they need to get people in the real world.’

It comes just days after the government was savaged by critics for a separate worst case scenario claim that deaths could hit 4,000 a day by next month. 

That figure was delivered in a doomsday dossier by Number 10’s top scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer. 

Professor Whitty conceded that the 4,000 daily deaths prediction was unlikely to come true because the modelling was a worst-case scenario based on a situation where no extra measures were brought in. 

And former PM Theresa May delivered a damning assessment of Mr Johnson’s handling of the situation, saying the controversial claim was ‘wrong before it was even used’.

Pressure will now continue to pile up on the government with the latest revelation. 

Ministers were last night warned not to present virus data in a ‘confusing’ way. The statistics watchdog said issuing figures without ‘appropriate explanations of context and sources’ risked harming public confidence.

But Boris Johnson, looking even more unkempt than usual despite his pre-lockdown haircut, insisted: ‘We try to make things as clear as we possibly can.’

The UK Statistics Authority said the Government and devolved administrations must make clear the source of data used in public briefings and the full figures behind it. It added: ‘The use of data has not consistently been supported by transparent information being provided in a timely manner.

‘As a result, there is potential to confuse the public and undermine confidence in the statistics.

‘It is important that data are shared in a way that promotes transparency and clarity. It should be published in a clear and accessible form with appropriate explanations of context and sources. It should be made available to all at the time the information is referenced publicly.’

The watchdog added: ‘It is clear that those working on the pandemic face significant pressures. But full transparency is vital to public understanding and public confidence in statistics and those who use them.’

The warning comes after former prime minister Theresa May accused Mr Johnson of choosing data to fit his virus policies and tore into predictions said to have informed his decision to impose a second national lockdown.

Yesterday Mr Johnson said at a press conference: ‘The projections vary widely – some scientists take very different views from other scientists. That’s why you’ve also got to add the political judgment that’s necessary about the economic consequences.’

Professor Yvonne Doyle, director of health protection at Public Health England, defended the models used to justify the measures. Asked if the worst numbers had been chosen to back up the lockdown policy, she told the BBC: ‘I don’t think that is the case at all. That’s not why these models are presented – they are presented to aid planning.’



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Tucker Carlson reveals documents implicating Joe Biden in dodgy deals went MISSING in the post


Tucker Carlson has revealed that a dossier of documents detailing Hunter Biden’s business deals went missing in the post, somewhere between Manhattan and Los Angeles, as he airs new audio recordings discussing Hunter’s businesses.

Carlson detailed the mystery of the vanishing documents during his Wednesday evening show on Fox News.

The presenter said his team had sent documents, via an established courier, from Manhattan on Monday to Los Angeles.

At 3:44am on Tuesday someone in the courier company noticed that the envelope was empty, and the documents had been removed.

Tony Bobulinski, Hunter Biden’s former business partner, claims Joe was aware of the deals

Bobulinski insisted he was telling his story because the American public needed to know

Bobulinski insisted he was telling his story because the American public needed to know

Carlson, the most-watched person on Fox News, on Wednesday described the documents

Carlson, the most-watched person on Fox News, on Wednesday described the documents

He said no one was able to explain where the documents, damaging to the Bidens, had gone.

He did not explain what the documents described, or whether they only had one copy.

Carlson described them as ‘confidential documents related to the Biden camp’ coming from ‘a source’.

He said: ‘We believe they are authentic and, at the time we received them, my executive producer and I were in Los Angeles talking to Tony Bobulinski. 

‘So we texted a producer in New York and asked him to send us those documents to LA. 

‘Monday afternoon this week, he shipped the documents overnight to California with a large national carrier, a brand-name company that we’ve used, you’ve used countless times. 

‘But the Biden documents never arrived in Los Angeles.’

Carlson said that on Tuesday morning, the day of the Bobulinski interview, they received word from the shipping company that ‘our package had been opened and the contents were missing.’

He said: ‘The documents it disappeared.’

Hunter, pictured with his father in 2016, was exploring business deals around the world

Hunter, pictured with his father in 2016, was exploring business deals around the world

Joe Biden, pictured with his younger brother Jim, a businessman, in 2008

Joe Biden, pictured with his younger brother Jim, a businessman, in 2008 

Joe Biden insists that he was never aware of what Hunter was doing in business

Joe Biden insists that he was never aware of what Hunter was doing in business

Carlson said that the courier company, ‘to its credit, took this very seriously’ and investigated.

He said they traced the envelope unti 3:44am on Tuesday, when an employee at sorting facility in another state notice that the package was ‘open and empty.’ 

Carlson explained: ‘The company security team interviewed every one of its employees who touched the envelope we sent. 

‘They searched the plane, and the trucks that carried it; they went through the office in New York where our producers dropped that package off, they combed the entire sorting facility, they used pictures of what we had sent, so the searchers would know what to look for. 

‘They went above and beyond, but found nothing.’

He said the courier company was ‘baffled and deeply bothered by this.’ 

‘And so are we,’ he concluded.

In his show on Wednesday Carlson revisited his interview the previous night with Tony Bobulinski, Hunter’s business partner, and aired new audio.

Rob Walker, one of the five in the business - Hunter and Jim, Bobulinski and James Gilliar

Rob Walker, one of the five in the business – Hunter and Jim, Bobulinski and James Gilliar

In the clips Rob Walker, a family friend of the Bidens’ and former Clinton official, who was one of the five men in their company Sinohawk, said that he was concerned their story would ‘blow up big time.’ 

Sinohawk, active in 2017 and wound down in 2018, comprised of Hunter Biden, his uncle Jim – Joe’s brother – Bobulinski, Walker, and a British businessman James Gilliar.

Walker is heard, on the phone with Bobulinski and Gilliar, saying: ‘I just think that if somebody comes out now and verifies the story it blows up big time that’s all.’ 

Gilliar, in a second clip, appears equally concerned, saying: ‘We’ve got this situation now where it’s escalating again because somebody, allegedly one of us three, has qualified the story. Already it’s back on the front pages.’

Bobulinski, in a third clip, says that their company is attracting attention from the Chinese firm they wish to work with as a result of the Biden name.

‘He was there because he was selling his family’s name and that’s the whole reason why the Chinese were there,’ says Bobulinski. 

‘The Chinese would’ve never been there if the Biden name wasn’t there.’ 

Carlson did not air anything more, to give context of the conversation. 

 

 

Hunter Biden’s former business partner releases audio of ‘Biden family friend imploring him not to go public’ – and claims Joe’s brother chuckled and said ‘plausible deniability’ allows the family to ‘get away with it’

A former Navy lieutenant who spent six months in 2017 in business with Hunter Biden, trying unsuccessfully to get a joint venture with a Chinese firm off the ground, has made public an audio recording from earlier this month, which he claims was a Biden associate trying to silence him.

Tony Bobulinski appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show on Tuesday night and an audio was played of Rob Walker – whose wife works for Jill Biden – allegedly warning Bobulinski not to go public with the information.  

‘If he doesn’t come out on record I am providing the facts,’ Bobulinski told Walker. 

‘You’re just going to bury all of us, man,’ Walker, described on the show as a Biden family representative, allegedly replied in the October 18 conversation.

During the interview, Bobulinski also claimed that in 2017, he asked Joe Biden’s brother Jim – who was part of their business consortium – how he could ‘get away with’ all their business dealings.

Bobulinski claimed that Jim replied: ‘Plausible deniability.’

Bobulinski further claimed during the interview that he had met Joe twice – both times in Los Angeles, on the night of May 2, 2017, and the morning of May 3, 2017. 

Bobulinski previously said he had only met Joe once – on the night of May 2. 

Tony Bobulinski spoke to Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night in an interview from Los Angeles

Tony Bobulinski spoke to Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night in an interview from Los Angeles

Joe Biden, pictured with his son Hunter in 2009, says he was unaware of Hunter's businesses

Joe Biden, pictured with his son Hunter in 2009, says he was unaware of Hunter’s businesses

Bobulinski calls Joe a liar

Bobulinski has since early October been pushing the story of his time in business with Hunter, 50, and his claims that Joe was involved in the attempts to make deals with their Chinese partners. 

Bobulinski and Hunter formed a company in 2017, specializing in infrastructure investment. No deals appear to have been completed, and the firm folded in 2018. 

Joe had left the White House and was a private citizen at the time. 

Nevertheless, he has insisted he and his son never discussed business – which Bobulinski claims is untrue. 

‘That’s a blatant lie when he states that,’ Bobulinski told Carlson. 

‘It’s a blatant lie.’ 

Tucker Carlson devoted the full hour of his show on Tuesday to the interview with Bobulinski

Tucker Carlson devoted the full hour of his show on Tuesday to the interview with Bobulinski

Bobulinski held a press conference ahead of the final presidential debate last week, but did not take questions.

‘It was made clear to me that Joe Biden’s involvement was not to be made in writing, but only face to face.’

Bobulinski is listed as one of the recipients of a May 13, 2017, email detailing their business deal, and he claims that ‘the big guy’ mentioned is a reference to Joe, whom he claims Hunter regularly asked for business advice. 

Joe has always insisted he was not involved in Hunter’s numerous business ventures. 

His team and Hunter’s lawyers have not responded to DailyMail.com’s request for comment. 

On Friday Bobulinski reportedly spoke to the FBI and handed over three cell phones which he said contained ‘evidence’. He did not say of what.

‘Obviously the world is aware that I attended the debate last Thursday and in that debate, he made a specific statement around questions around us from the president and I’ll be honest with you, I almost stood up and screamed a liar and walked out because I was shocked that after four days that they prepped for this at the Biden family is taking that position to the world,’ Bobulinski told Carlson.

Two meetings with Joe Biden 

Bobulinski, in Tuesday night’s interview, told in additional detail how he had allegedly met Joe in Los Angeles.

‘I first met with Hunter Biden and Jim Biden, and just had a light discussion where they briefed me that my dad’s on the way, and we won’t go into too much detail on the business front, but we will spend time talking at a high level about you, your background, the Biden family and then he’s got to get some rest because he is speaking at the conference in the morning,’ Bobulinaki said.

Joe was coming to Los Angeles to speak at the Milken Conference and discuss his ‘moonshot’ efforts to find a cure for cancer. 

Asked by Carlson why Joe would meet him, Bobulinski emphasized that Hunter and Jim wanted him to meet Joe – it was not Bobulinski wanting to meet the former vice president. 

‘They were sort of wining and dining me and presenting the strength of the Biden family to get me more engaged and taking on the CEO role and develop it both in the United States and around the world in partnership,’ he told Carlson. 

‘And as you can imagine, I’ve been asked by a hundred people over the past month why would you be meeting with Joe Biden, and sort of turn the question around to people that ask me, why that 10:38 on the night of May 2nd would Joe Biden take time out of his schedule to sit down with me in a dark bar at the Beverly Hilton’s position – behind a column so people couldn’t see us – to have a discussion about his family and my family?’ 

Bobulinski was in business with Hunter, and the pair tried to set up Chinese investments

Bobulinski was in business with Hunter, and the pair tried to set up Chinese investments

Bobulinski, pictured at a press conference ahead of Thursday's debate, spoke on Tuesday

Bobulinski, pictured at a press conference ahead of Thursday’s debate, spoke on Tuesday

In Bobulinski’s telling, when Joe arrived with his security detail, Bobulinski ‘stood up out of respect to shake his hand.’

He continued:  ‘And Hunter introduced me as: “this is Tony, the individual I told you about that’s helping us with the business we are working on in the Chinese.”‘ 

The group sat down.

Asked what they discussed, Bobulinski said that Jim ordered some food; they all ordered drinks; and Joe asked Bobulinski about his background and family. 

‘He thanked me for my service, I’m obviously very proud of that,’ Bobulinski said.

‘Then he walked through his family, obviously some of the tragedies they’ve dealt with, his political career on a high level.

‘We didn’t go into too much detail on business because prior to Joe showing up, Hunter and Jim had approached me and said this is a high-level discussion meeting. 

‘So it’s not like I was drilling down with Joe about details.’

Bobulinski told Carlson that, the following day, he had a second meeting with Joe.

‘I met with Joe Biden the morning of May 3rd at that conference, and then was taken backstage after Joe had spoken,’ he recalled.

‘We joked around for 10 minutes and then I walked out to his car, I think they referenced he was off to see lieutenant governor.’

Bobulinski said that, when they spoke, Joe ‘just asked how I did and what I thought of the speech.’ 

Bobulinski said: ‘I said great job in the speech, and obviously it’s a very serious thing we should all be working together to solve. I lost a sister-in-law to cancer. 

‘And he just sort of asked me to keep an eye on his son and his brother.’ 

When Carlson asked what he meant, Bobulinski replied: ‘I think he was conscious of things and I can’t speak for him.’

Joe has never denied meeting Bobulinski, but neither has he explained the circumstances. 

Bobulinski insisted he was telling his story because the American public needed to know

Bobulinski insisted he was telling his story because the American public needed to know

‘Plausible deniability’ 

After Bobiulinski said goodbye to Joe on May 3, he went to meet Jim at the Peninsula Hotel in Los Angeles, he said.

Jim Biden, seven years younger than Joe, spent two hours discussing the family’s story, and their careers. 

Bobulinski told Carlson: ‘I know Joe decided not to run in 2016, but what if he ran in the future – aren’t they taking political risk or headline risk?

‘And I remember looking at Jim Biden and saying: “how are you guys getting away with this? Aren’t you concerned?” 

‘And he looked at me and he laughed a little bit and said: “plausible deniability”.

‘He said it directly to me at the cabana at the Peninsula Hotel, after an hour and a half or two-hour meeting, with me asking out of concern how are you guys doing this, aren’t you concerned you will put your future presidential campaign at risk, the Chinese, the stuff you guys have been doing already in 2015 and 2016 around the world.

‘And I can almost picture his face where he sort of chuckles and says plausible deniability.’

Jim has not responded to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.

Joe Biden, pictured with his younger brother Jim, a businessman, in 2008

Joe Biden, pictured with his younger brother Jim, a businessman, in 2008 

Jim Biden (pictured with wife Sara) formed a company with his nephew Hunter to work on infrastructure

Jim Biden (pictured with wife Sara) formed a company with his nephew Hunter to work on infrastructure

Russian disinformation?

Bobulinski told Carlson that he felt compelled to come forward following Joe’s repeated insistence that he had no involvement in Hunter and Jim’s businesses.

Bobulinski’s account of his dealings with Hunter, and his allegations about Joe was provided to the Wall Street Journal in late October.

The Journal began investigating the documents Bobulinski provided, and concluded, in a report published on the night of the debate, October 22, that there was no evidence Joe had any role in their company. 

The New York Post had by that point published their own story involving Hunter’s emails, after Rudy Giuliani – Donald Trump’s lawyer – gave the paper a laptop he claimed belonged to Hunter.

The first story, on October 14, claimed that Hunter leveraged his father’s name to secure business deals in Ukraine. It did not mention Bobulinski’s name.

The following day, October 15, the Post published a second story, marking the first time Bobulinski’s name was mentioned.

The Post story looked at Bobulinski’s business dealings with Hunter, his uncle Jim and two other men – James Gilliar, a long-time friend of Bobulinski’s, and Rob Walker, a friend of the Bidens.

Walker’s wife Betsy is Jill Biden’s personal assistant.

Bobulinski said that, when people started speculating that he was some sort of Russian pawn, being played to discredit the Bidens so close to the election, he felt compelled to clear his name and publicly tell all he knew.

‘They brought in Russian disinformation and basically associated my name with that, which is absolutely disgusting to me and I had to go on the record,’ Bobulinski told Carlson.

‘We went through three years of every day Russia, Russia, Russia. It’s just absurd. The Cold War is over.’ 

‘Bury us all’ 

Bobulinski concluded that he had to make his case public, and clear his name. 

Carlson said: ‘The Biden family knew that you were going public with this and you spoke to Rob Walker about it, the self-described Biden family representative. What was his response when you let him know that you were going public with this?’

Bobulinski replied: ‘Trying to coach me, trying to say we don’t want to do that, we don’t want press trucks out in front of our house and we have to move because it’s my job and all of that.

‘I’m not trying to cause any harm to anyone in this situation, let alone Rob Walker and his family, but basically, his position was if you go on record, you will bury all of us.’ 

Carlson broadcast the audio of Walker saying ‘bury all of us’, which had been recorded on October 18. 

‘If he doesn’t come out on record I am providing the facts,’ Bobulinski told Walker. 

Walker warns him: ‘Tony, you’re just going to bury all of us, man.’ 

Walker has not responded to DailyMail.com’s request for comment. 

Rob Walker, one of the five in the business - Hunter and Jim, Bobulinski and James Gilliar

Rob Walker, one of the five in the business – Hunter and Jim, Bobulinski and James Gilliar

How it all ended

Bobulinski on Tuesday night provided an extremely complicated story as to how his business dealings with Hunter and Jim, Walker and Gilliar came to an end.

He said that the Chinese partners in the deal promised $10 million – $5 million as their capital funding, and $5 million as a loan to the Bidens.

But as the summer of 2017 dragged on, the money was not forthcoming, and the Chinese company began speaking to Russian investors – a development which worried Bobulinski, as he felt they would miss out to the Russians. 

‘I did reach out to Hunter Biden in October 2017 asking him if they haven’t funded the $10 million to have you done something that I am no,’ he said, suggesting that Hunter Biden received money but used it for other purposes.

No evidence was provided of the Chinese ever paying money in to the company, and it was wound up officially in 2018.   

What it means

Bobulinski on Tuesday night repeatedly stressed that he was ‘irrelevant’ in the story; that he had not wanted to appear on television, but that he felt the story needed to be told.  

Asked what he thought this all meant, Bobulinski replied: ‘I think they are compromised. 

‘I just don’t see, given the history here, and the facts, how Joe can’t be influenced in some manner based on the history that they have with stuff like that.’

Bobulinski said he had received death threats, and had a team of former Navy Seals stationed outside his family’s house. 

Hunter Biden, left, has long been known for his failed business deals. He is pictured with his father

Hunter Biden, left, has long been known for his failed business deals. He is pictured with his father

Joe Biden insists that he was never aware of what Hunter was doing in business

Joe Biden insists that he was never aware of what Hunter was doing in business

Hunter, pictured with his father in 2016, was exploring business deals around the world

Hunter, pictured with his father in 2016, was exploring business deals around the world

Trump has seized upon the emails from Bobulinski, and others from a laptop that Hunter reportedly took to be repaired, as supposed evidence of the Biden family’s corruption.

Joe during Thursday night’s debate vehemently denied having ever taken any money from foreign governments.

The Biden campaign insists that Trump is attempting to divert attention away from his own shortcomings, and Trump critics have suggested that it is part of a Russian-orchestrated disinformation plot.

On Sunday night, in a 60 Minutes interview, Biden spoke out about the laptop scandal and the emails that have been found detailing plans for business ventures involving China and Ukraine.

Joe said he believed that Giuliani, who has touted the laptop around various media outlets seeking publicity, was being used by Russia.

‘From what I’ve read and know, the intelligence community warned the president that Giuliani was being fed disinformation from the Russians,’ Biden said. 

‘And we also know that Putin is trying very hard to spread disinformation about Joe Biden. 

‘And so when you put the combination of Russia, Giuliani, the president, together – it’s just what it is. 

‘It’s a smear campaign because he has nothing he wants to talk about. What is he running on? What is he running on?’





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Gareth Gates scammed out of £250,000 by dodgy Forex money trader


Gareth Gates has said he lost £250,000 due to a dodgy Forex money trader.

The Pop Idol icon, 36, revealed that a scam saw him lose a quarter of a million in the damaging scam.

He had decided to meet with the apparent expert in foreign currency trading after he saw “wealthy friends” have profitable success.

However, in the second year of monthly payments, it became clear that the associate had lost all of his money.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Gareth revealed: “I’m more careful now as I got burnt once and lost £250,000.

“I was a victim of that. I got nothing back and it was a big learning curve for me.

“I learnt a big lesson that I invested a little bit more than I possibly should have.”

Gareth Gates has revealed that he lost £250,000 with a dodgy Forex trader

So, what had happened with Gareth’s money and the trader?

“He obviously didn’t have good risk management in place, and he’d got himself in too deep,” explained Gareth.

However, Gareth has at least learned a powerful lesson that he will take heed of in future when it comes to money.

Gareth added: “You have to work hard then invest well and you have to give.”

The singer and former Dancing On Ice contestant also added that he still hopes to one day live in a castle, which would be his first purchase if he won the lottery.

Gareth Gates says he has learned a tough lesson after the money-making scheme ended up losing him a lot of cash

Yet, it is not all bad news when it comes to Gareth’s money, as he made an additional £600,000 on his house when he managed to sell it for £1.3million.

Gareth was married to dancer Suzanne Mole from 2008 to 2012, with whom he shares his only child, 10-year-old daughter Missy.

He previously had a romantic relationship with former Coronation Street star Faye Brookes, who he split with last year.

Gareth, who split with Corrie star Faye Brookes last year, is now dating DJ Chloe McLennan

The Corrie star had been in an on-off relationship with Gareth for almost seven years before they called off their engagement in 2019.

The Pop Idol runner-up is now in a relationship with DJ Chloe McLennan.

Do you have a story to sell? Get in touch with us at [email protected] or call us direct 0207 29 33033.





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Trump says Hunter Biden’s computer which purports to show his dodgy deals is a ‘laptop from hell’


President Trump has compared the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop to that of Anthony Weiner’s computer whose laptop ended up becoming an issue for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in the weeks before the 2016 election.

On Monday, during a campaign rally in Prescott, Arizona, Trump described the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as having a ‘laptop from hell’.

 A cache of emails and photos were retrieved from the computer which Hunter Biden allegedly left at a Delaware computer store. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani then provided the laptop to the New York Post.

Emails on the hard drive purportedly show Joe Biden was involved in deals made overseas by his son.

Trump went on to describe his competitor in the upcoming election as ‘corrupt’.    

President Trump describe the computer of Hunter Biden as the ‘laptop from hell’

'So a giant trove of emails show Hunter Biden making deals, setting up deals with his father Joe,' Trump said at one point. The alleged emails included one that alluded to a meeting between Joe Biden and Vadym Pozharsky an adviser for the Ukrainian gas company Burisma,

‘So a giant trove of emails show Hunter Biden making deals, setting up deals with his father Joe,’ Trump said at one point. The alleged emails included one that alluded to a meeting between Joe Biden and Vadym Pozharsky an adviser for the Ukrainian gas company Burisma,

‘Joe Biden is always and has been a corrupt politician, and as far as I’m concerned the Biden family is a criminal enterprise,’ Trump said.

‘If you read this laptop, I tell you what, this is called the laptop from hell. The only laptop that was almost as good, maybe worse, was the laptop of Anthony Weiner. Remember that? Ding-ding-ding-ding. He got hacked too.’

‘[Weiner] was sending messages to very, very young women — girls, girls, excuse me, girls. He was sending messages, a lot of them, and he ‘got hacked’, ‘ Trump said.

‘You know, I’ve never known a person that said he got hacked, that got hacked.’

The FBI seized Weiner’s laptop just before the 2016 election over allegations of inappropriate relationships with a 15-year-old girl. 

A cache of emails and photos were allegedly retrieved from Hunter Biden's laptop that he had left at a Delaware computer store. They include this photo among others

A cache of emails and photos were allegedly retrieved from Hunter Biden’s laptop that he had left at a Delaware computer store. They include this photo among others

The FBI Director at the time, James Comey, announced just 11 days before the election that he was to reopen an investigation of Clinton’s storage of classified information on a private email server that involved a laptop. 

Investigators found 650,000 emails on a laptop that they believe was used by Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin that could have sent messages to or from Hillary Clinton’s private email server. 

Comey also sent a memo to staffers explaining his decision, noting the bureau would not ordinarily inform Congress about its ongoing investigations, but said he felt he needed to do so amid the looming election.

‘Of course we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed,’ Comey wrote in the memo. 

‘I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record.’

The FBI Director at the time, James Comey, announced just 11 days before the 2016 election that he was to reopen an investigation of Clinton's storage of classified information on a private email server that involved a laptop

The FBI Director at the time, James Comey, announced just 11 days before the 2016 election that he was to reopen an investigation of Clinton’s storage of classified information on a private email server that involved a laptop

‘At the same time, however, given that we do not know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression, he wrote. 

‘In trying to strike that balance, in a brief letter, and in the middle of an election season, there is significant risk of being misunderstood, but I wanted you to hear directly from me about it.’ 

Weiner admitted to sexting with a 15-year-old girl, following a DailyMail.com investigation.

For months, Weiner and the minor exchanged sexually graphic text messages, spoke over several social media platforms and he sent her photographs of himself in various states of undress, sometimes posing with his son.

After DailyMail.com exposed Weiner, he admitted to knowing that the victim, from North Carolina, was underage at the time of their exchanges.

Just before the 2016 election it was revealed there were thousands of emails that then-candidate Hillary Clinton had send to Anthony Weiner's wife, Hume Abedin

Just before the 2016 election it was revealed there were thousands of emails that then-candidate Hillary Clinton had send to Anthony Weiner’s wife, Hume Abedin

The new discovery of the laptop allegedly owned by Hunter has provided the Trump campaign with fresh ammunition in the final days of the election campaign.

Trump has been having a field day over a New York Post report that claims to provide proof that Joe Biden was in on his son Hunter’s foreign business deals while he was serving as President Barack Obama’s vice president. 

The emails were allegedly found on the laptop, which was left at a shop before a copy of the harddrive was given to Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. 

Federal authorities are now investigating whether the emails were connected to a foreign intelligence operation in a bid to sway the election. 

‘So a giant trove of emails show Hunter Biden making deals, setting up deals with his father Joe,’ Trump said at one point. 

‘Joe’s getting a piece of everything,’ Trump, at another moment, alleged. 

The alleged emails included one that alluded to a meeting between Joe Biden and Vadym Pozharsky an adviser for the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, where Hunter Biden served on the board. 

However, the Biden campaign says the meeting did not occur. 

The alleged emails included one that alluded to a meeting between Joe Biden and Vadym Pozharsky an adviser for the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, where Hunter Biden served on the board. However, the Biden campaign says the meeting did not occu

The alleged emails included one that alluded to a meeting between Joe Biden and Vadym Pozharsky an adviser for the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, where Hunter Biden served on the board. However, the Biden campaign says the meeting did not occu 

During Monday’s rally, Trump said Monday that he specifically stopped his own children from being involved with foreign projects that could might be seen a corrupt. 

‘Can you imagine if Don Jr. had the problems of ‘Where’s Hunter?’ ‘ Trump asked rally-goers.

‘Don Jr., oh my poor boy — what that boy’s been through. What that guy’s been through. I don’t know, Ivanka is different, she sort of floats through life, it is pretty amazing, I’ll tell you. She is pretty amazing. And Eric has been great,’ Trump said.

‘But they went after my kids and I restrict them from doing things. I mean, can you imagine the money my kids could get? “Dad, let’s build a hotel in Saudi Arabia.” I restricted them, I said you can’t do anything.’



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RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Driven by fear and dodgy science, this was bound to end in tiers 


That pungent smell coming from the direction of Downing Street is naked fear. The so-called evidence wheeled out to justify the Government’s latest ‘Three Tier’ lockdown policy was intended solely to silence sceptics and scare the public into submission.

Yet again there were more questions than answers. All we got was an avalanche of colourful graphs and statistics designed to bamboozle, not enlighten.

As usual, there was no context, only an insistence that unless we do exactly as we’re told YOU’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!

Boris solemnly informed the Commons that he must with great reluctance curtail still further our civil liberties. The new measures were presented as a fait accompli. We are asked to believe, in the memorable words of one of his distinguished predecessors as PM, that There Is No Alternative. ‘If we stand aside, let nature take its course, let the virus rip, there will be an intolerable death toll.’

Forgive me, but I have yet to hear any lockdown sceptic suggest we should ‘let the virus rip’.

That pungent smell coming from the direction of Downing Street is naked fear

It has, however, become a stock phrase employed by ministers — particularly the smug, authoritarian Health Secretary Matt Hancock — to justify whatever curbs on freedom they decide to pluck out of thin air. The implication is that those of us who think the Government is over-reacting and should try a different approach to tackling Covid-19 have a callous disregard for human life.

Nothing could be further from the truth. We are simply concerned about the businesses being bankrupted by lockdown, the millions of people losing their jobs, and the countless lives being lost to cancer, heart disease and other illnesses because of the monomaniacal concentration on coronavirus.

All we want is to protect the vulnerable, shield the elderly, and free the rest of the country — especially the under-40s who have more chance of being struck by lightning than dying of Covid — to resume normal life.

Sadly, there’s fat chance of that happening any time soon under this risk-averse, backside-covering Government, with frightened ministers still trying to hide their earlier mistakes in advance of the inevitable public inquiry.

Boris seized on the rising number of infections and hospital admissions to back up closing down Liverpool. Soon other cities in the North and Midlands, as well as London, may be next. But when fellow Tory Iain Duncan Smith pointed out helpfully that the death rate had actually fallen from three per cent in June to 0.6 per cent now, he was brushed aside. The Prime Minister will brook no dissent.

He continues to rely on a narrow range of experts and advice given, we now learn, by a faceless committee headed by an unnamed spook and reporting to that ubiquitous quango queen Dido Harding. Where are the scientific experts — and there’s no shortage of them — offering a different point of view? Where are the economists?

The so-called evidence wheeled out to justify the Government¿s latest ¿Three Tier¿ lockdown policy was intended solely to silence sceptics and scare the public into submission

The so-called evidence wheeled out to justify the Government’s latest ‘Three Tier’ lockdown policy was intended solely to silence sceptics and scare the public into submission

How many of those dictating Covid policy have ever run a business, or employed anyone?

Few, if any, I would imagine. How many of them are suffering financial hardship as a result of the economic meltdown brought about by lockdown? None.

They’re all still drawing their public sector salaries and can look forward to a comfortable retirement on an index-linked pension, courtesy of the British taxpayer.

Not for them, or anyone in the Cabinet, the heartbreak of seeing a bar, restaurant or small business they have built up working all the hours God sent being forced to close for good by ministerial fiat.

They won’t struggle to pay the mortgage, or their utility bills, or lie awake wondering if they are ever going to work again.

No, all Boris can offer the British people after months of sacrifice is another four weeks of misery, minimum, almost certainly stretching to Christmas and beyond. The softening-up process began earlier in the day with another indentikit expert warning that without a new round of restrictions the morgues would be overflowing. The death toll would be ‘too great to bear’.

Nightingale Hospitals in Sunderland, Manchester and Harrogate, which have stood idle since they were built in record time by the Army during the initial corona panic, are being ‘mobilised’.

Yet again there were more questions than answers. All we got was an avalanche of colourful graphs and statistics designed to bamboozle, not enlighten

Yet again there were more questions than answers. All we got was an avalanche of colourful graphs and statistics designed to bamboozle, not enlighten

Professor Jean-Claude Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer, declared more deaths and hospitalisations are already ‘baked in’ — whatever that means.

His prophesies of doom were supported by slides showing maps of Britain in gloomy shades of purple and brown, and graphs which appeared to have been drawn up with one of those giant revolving children’s pens containing half a dozen different coloured inks, which you used to be able to buy in Woolworths.

Modesty aside, I pride myself on being able to cut to the chase. Over my years in journalism, I’ve had to distil complicated court cases into 800 words and translate impenetrable company reports into English in time for the afternoon edition.

I can only say I’ve never come across such a disingenuous load of old flannel as the Government is using to trash the economy.

Priapic graphs exaggerate the true scale of infections. Deliberately vague language is used to pretend the pandemic is spiralling out of control.

A couple of weeks ago, the Two Ronnies of Doom were brandishing projections that by today there would be 50,000 new cases a day. In reality, there’s been only around a third of that wild guess. And, anyway, what do they mean by ‘cases’? We’re not talking hospitalisations, or even deaths here. Just ‘cases’ — in other words, those who have tested positive for Covid.

But given that the number of tests is now running at 250,000 a day, it was inevitable the numbers of people testing positive would rise. The fact is, though, that up to 90 per cent are asymptomatic.

As for the deaths put down to Covid, take that with a shovel of salt, too. The authorities are still counting those who tested positive in the past 28 days, even if they died of something else.

They are reluctant, too, to tell us whether these unfortunate patients had other underlying conditions which would have killed them anyway. The Mail revealed last week that the average age of those who have died with Covid is 82 — a full year older than the average life expectancy in Britain.

How old are those admitted to hospital in Liverpool lately, and used to justify another draconian lockdown? Do they suffer from another potentially fatal condition, such as kidney failure or obesity? No one’s saying.

Boris Johnson promised to run a transparent administration. Yet he won’t level with us, won’t trust the British people with the true facts.

Scaremongering and dissembling is the order of the day. Take his Three Tier ‘traffic light’ lockdown system. The categories are ‘Medium’, ‘High’ and ‘Very High’. What’s wrong with Low, Medium and High, unless he’s trying to pretend the problem is more serious that it really is?

Boris doesn’t trust the British people, so he won’t be surprised to discover very soon that we don’t trust him, either. I don’t believe the opinion polls which allege the majority of people are happy to go back into lockdown.

Most people I talk to, and who write to me at the Mail, have had enough. They particularly object to the brunt of these draconian measures falling on young people, who face a bleak future.

Ministers talk about this being the ‘tipping point’. They’re right, but not in the way they imagine.

This latest Three Tier lockdown will prove to be the last straw. A tidal wave of bankruptcies and redundancies is coming down the pipe at the end of this month. The Government will be blamed, and probably never forgiven.

Yet Boris continues to swallow ‘The Science’, regardless of the consequences, and refuses to entertain the notion that there may be any legitimate alternative.

But believing yours is the one true path isn’t science, it’s religion. And the Cabinet is increasingly beginning to resemble one of those Waco-style death cults.

In the U.S. they have an expression, ‘Drinking the Kool-Aid’, to describe unthinking obedience to a doomed cause. It refers to a cyanide cocktail, named after a popular soda, which was drunk during a mass suicide by 900 disciples of the People’s Temple cult leader Jim Jones in 1978.

I don’t know about Kool-Aid, but Boris’s ministers certainly seem to have drunk the Cov-Aid.

Maybe this madness will all be over when Downing Street bursts into flames with the entire Cabinet and the experts inside.

All I do know is that, driven by fear and dodgy science, it was bound to end in tiers.



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Starstruck photos of ‘McMafia’ millionaire may have alerted Britain’s FBI to his dodgy fortune


November 2013 was a hectic month for Meghan Markle. Striving to broaden her recognition beyond North America, where she had won modest acclaim for her role in TV legal drama Suits, she duly jetted off to London.

There, the actress attended a red carpet film premiere in Leicester Square, met a tabloid gossip columnist for drinks and handed out prizes at the Global Gift Gala — a glittering charity fundraiser for under-privileged women and children.

Beguiling in a black, off-the-shoulder dress, her glossy hair swept back to highlight her pendant earrings, among the guests with whom she was photographed was the hunky model Oliver Cheshire, boyfriend of singer Pixie Lott.

As Meghan swanned around the ballroom at the ME Hotel on the Strand, however, an altogether more obscure young man made a beeline for her.

She would have known nothing about Mansoor ‘Manni’ Hussain. She probably didn’t even catch his name. But as the paparazzi lenses were trained on her, she draped an arm around his designer-jacketed shoulder, and the moment was captured for posterity.

She would have known nothing about Mansoor ‘Manni’ Hussain. She probably didn’t even catch his name

This week, both parties must wish they hadn’t courted the cameras so assiduously that evening.

When Hussain was unmasked as a suspected money-launderer for a murderous gangland boss and other violent criminals, Meghan must have felt considerable embarrassment (though her blushes were shared by many more celebrities who unwittingly posed with him, including Simon Cowell, Beyonce, Nicole Scherzinger, Sir Philip Green and lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone).

As for Hussain, his desperation to be photographed with actors, pop stars and tycoons, then post the images on Instagram and Twitter — along with other emblems of his playboy lifestyle, such as his fleet of Rolls-Royces and bling-adorned homes and offices — has had far more damaging repercussions.

His craving for vicarious fame may have helped to draw his ill-gotten fortune to the attention of West Yorkshire Police, who in turn alerted the National Crime Agency to his links with some of the North’s most notorious and violent criminals.

After a two-year investigation, the NCA served Hussain with an Unexplained Wealth Order — a new legal tool that allows the courts to confiscate money and property whose origins can’t be explained, regardless of whether the owner has been convicted of any offence.

Known as ‘McMafia Orders’ after the BBC gangland drama, they came into force in 2018 and have been used to seize the £30 million assets held by the London-based wife of a jailed Azerbaijani banker.

However, this is the first time one has been used successfully to forfeit the alleged proceeds of organised crime.

As for Hussain, his desperation to be photographed with actors, pop stars and tycoons, then post the images on Instagram and Twitter has had far more damaging repercussions. Here he is pictured with Sir Philip Green and Simon Cowell

As for Hussain, his desperation to be photographed with actors, pop stars and tycoons, then post the images on Instagram and Twitter has had far more damaging repercussions. Here he is pictured with Sir Philip Green and Simon Cowell

This week, it was revealed that Leeds-based Hussain, 40, has surrendered 45 properties and four plots of land in Cheshire, Yorkshire and London’s Knightsbridge, together worth more than £9 million, plus nearly £600,000 in cash. The settlement, hailed by the NCA as ‘a landmark’ in the fight against serious crime, has left the man they describe as a ‘professional enabler’ to drug-dealers, violent robbers and fraudsters with just three properties in Britain, all heavily mortgaged.

As I have discovered, however, Hussain is not quite on his uppers. He has managed to keep a luxurious apartment in Marbella. Spanish property records show he bought it for £443,000 about 12 years ago, through one of his web of companies, Sabir Tahir Estates. Intriguingly, says a well-placed source, Hussain was introduced to the estate agent who sold him this bolthole by the late Max Clifford, the paedophile PR king, who owned a three-bedroomed flat in the same gated complex, Las Alamandas, in Marbella.

This is no coincidence. Before his arrest for indecently assaulting young girls in 2012, the disgraced publicist — who died in prison in 2017 — had taken on the publicity-seeking Hussain as a client, with a promise to raise his profile.

Hussain paid Clifford to promote him as a business wunderkind in the mould of Richard Branson: a self-made property magnate who had supposedly accumulated £350 million by his early thirties and planned to launch a cut-price airline and global hotel chain.

Whether Clifford ever questioned the true source of his smooth-talking client’s wealth we will never know. However, as part of their image-building deal he secured Hussain VIP invitations to the black-tie charity balls, showbiz parties and sporting events where those reckless celebrity photos were invariably taken.

After they became neighbours in Marbella they are also said to have met socially, though there is no suggestion Hussain knew of his spin-master’s sexual proclivities.

Before the UWO was made public this week, Hussain vanished from his stamping ground in West Yorkshire. When we called at one of the properties his company still owns according to Land Registry records — a Grade II-listed Georgian building in central Leeds, bought for £1.95 million and converted into a glitzy head office topped by a penthouse apartment — the place was deserted.

This week, it was revealed that Leeds-based Hussain, 40, has surrendered 45 properties and four plots of land in Cheshire, Yorkshire and London’s Knightsbridge. Pictured: Hussain with lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone

This week, it was revealed that Leeds-based Hussain, 40, has surrendered 45 properties and four plots of land in Cheshire, Yorkshire and London’s Knightsbridge. Pictured: Hussain with lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone

And at his family’s humble terrace house in Armley near the city’s prison, a burly man who answered the door claimed menacingly that we had the wrong address. The speculation is that Hussain may be on the Costa del Sol, perhaps hiding from the vicious thugs whose profits provided the ‘seed capital’ for a business empire spanning dozens of companies, the NCA claims.

It seems a plausible theory. For Hussain is said to have invested money for characters such as Mohammad ‘Meggy’ Khan, a sinister Bradford crime-lord serving 26 years for deliberately running a man over in a car and battering him with a cudgel as he lay dying on the pavement.

One suspects they might not take kindly to the alleged launderer who lost the millions they had entrusted him with.

Not least because Hussain lived high on the hog and his arrogance played straight into the hands of the NCA investigators.

The threat posed by his underworld associates was spelled out by Mr Justice Murray, the judge who granted the UWO.

Explaining why he initially made the order under a cloak of privacy, he said: ‘The organised crime gangs involved in this case are known for violence. There was a genuine and well-founded concern that publicity… might give rise to a threat to Mr Hussain’s person.’ A source close to the case put it more succinctly: ‘We hear Manni has gone to ground, but he might be under the ground soon, now that the guys he deals with realise he has lost them £10 million.’

A chilling summation. So what do we know of the real man behind Hussain’s flash, attention-grabbing façade?

How did this unshaven and hardly menacing man become the alleged banker for the evil ‘Meggy’ and five other criminals identified by the NCA?

Among his other alleged associates was Dennis Slade, a cash-in-transit robbery gang boss who rammed a security van with a tractor, making off with hundreds of thousands of pounds; and Slade’s ex-wife Maxine Valentine, who was jailed for living the high-life on his ‘takings.’ She even bought a Bentley once owned by Jay Kay, leader of the pop group Jamiroquai. As Hussain is a ‘clean-skin’ who’s never been in court — his one brush with the law came when he was cautioned for battery in 2009 — his back story relies largely on his self-aggrandising website and Clifford-spun interviews.

The youngest of eight children raised in a grim Leeds neighbourhood, he says his quest for wealth and acclaim began when his father died, leaving his mother Zarina, now 83, to raise a large family alone.

‘My dad died when I was 11 and it had a massive effect on my life. I guess it made me work even harder to make him proud,’ he once said. ‘He was very strict and instilled a good work ethic in us all. But he was a really nice man, too. That’s one of the main things I’ve taken into business. I’m always nice.

‘A lot of your success has to do with how you treat people. It’s important that people can trust you in the business world. And I never take “no” for answer.’ The people whom Hussain threatened with violence and blackmail when acquiring his property empire, according to the NCA, might agree with the final sentence, at least, of his gushing self-appraisal.

By the age of 18, Hussain claims, he was running three children’s clothing shops, in Bramley and Leeds. He has never explained how he got the funds to buy them.

At 19, he sold the shops and went into residential property, renovating small terrace houses before specialising in student accommodation. By the age of 24 he had built his own home, a £1.9 million mansion in an affluent part of Leeds. Recalling all this, in a 2010 magazine interview with Yorkshire’s most successful young entrepreneurs, Hussain, managing director of a fast-rising company called Cubic Acquisitions, listed his favourite books as biographies of Richard Branson, Philip Green and Simon Cowell.

Las Alamandas Luxury gated apartment Complex near Puerto Banus where Mansoor Hussain's company own a property

Las Alamandas Luxury gated apartment Complex near Puerto Banus where Mansoor Hussain’s company own a property

Asked who would play him in a film, he named Al Pacino, perhaps tellingly, given the actor’s portrayal of Mafia kingpins in films such as Scarface and The Godfather.

His chosen Mastermind subject would be cricket, he said. A capable club player, he turned out regularly for Leeds Modernians XI, where an official this week described him as unremarkable and said he was ‘shocked’ to hear of his criminal links. Yet there was a gaping hole in Hussain’s various accounts of his jet-propelled rise, according to Andy Lewis, the NCA’s head of asset denial.

‘In 2002, or thereabouts, an injection of seed-funding was put into his businesses that we believe was dirty. It came from various criminals,’ he told me.

The NCA first investigated Hussain with view to a criminal prosecution, which could have brought him a 14-year jail sentence. Because bank documents relating to his early transactions had been destroyed, however, it would have been difficult and time-consuming to prove his guilt beyond doubt before a jury. Therefore the agency decided to seek an Unexplained Wealth Order, which reverses the burden of proof onto a person accused of acquiring illicit wealth.

The order was granted in July, 2019. There then followed a year-long wrangle over which assets Hussain would be allowed to keep. He might have fared better had he used his millions to hire a high-powered lawyer to haggle with the NCA. Instead, he chose to represent himself, handing the NCA a 76-page witness statement and 127 volumes of evidence in an effort to prove his business was legitimate.

It was a monumental error. ‘Unfortunately for him, within that [paperwork] we found information to investigate other grounds of inquiry,’ says Mr Lewis. ‘He came to the table and tried to negotiate, but we had a red line that we weren’t going to cross.’

Court documents reveal the welter of evidence the NCA had amassed to support their claim that Hussain — who called himself ‘Manni Boss’ — was a money manager for the Yorkshire Mob.

For two years he had bankrolled ‘Meggy’ Khan’s son’s private school fees, totalling £10,000. He also paid a £134,000 compensation order on behalf of Khan’s mortgage fraudster brother, Shamsher. He and Khan travelled together to Malaga on a 24-hour trip, purportedly to attend a nightclub opening.

Hussain openly drove the gang boss to and from Leeds Crown Court during Dennis Slade’s armed robbery trial, and was stopped several times by police with Khan in the passenger seat of one of his luxury cars.

Slade even lived, apparently rent-free, at Hussain’s mock-Tudor mansion (and indeed, this week his name was still to be found on the electoral register).

He also provided the violent robber with a luxury flat on his release from a nine-year jail stretch and chauffeured his ex-wife Valentine around. He seemed to believe he was untouchable.

Meanwhile, the self-styled whizz kid, who listed the Queen’s bank Coutts among his ‘financial partners’ on his company website, and burnished his credentials as a ‘philanthropist’, claimed to have a negligible income and paid barely any tax.

Between 1998/9 and 2003/4, when he ran the three shops and began buying properties all over the county, he told HM Revenue and Customs he had earned just £500. And for two of those years his declared income was nil.

If we believe him, his biggest-earning year came in 2015/16, when he received £30,280 in dividends.

Though Hussain has no wife or family — telling friends his career was too time-consuming to sustain a long-term relationship — this was hardly sufficient to pay for his frequent jaunts to Dubai and Las Vegas, and his penchant for expensive, classic cars.

Nor for his Moschino suits, Cartier watches, Louboutin shoes and expensively-whitened teeth.

Given the shadowy circles in which he allegedly operated, there remains a million-dollar question.

Why did ‘Manni Boss’ continually draw attention to himself by posting all those inane celebrity photos? As Meghan’s fame grew, he reposted the picture with her several times.

What possessed a man whose business demanded discretion and a below-the-radar profile to behave like a star-struck groupie?

This week, Hussain’s former associates offered two theories. Either the boy from the Leeds back streets became fatally intoxicated by fame and success; or he deliberately raised his profile with the aim of ‘hiding in plain sight’.

Whatever the truth, he is a ruined man — and even if he escapes the wrath of Yorkshire’s underworld, celebrities will never again let him sidle up to them as the paparazzi cameras flash.

Additional Reporting: Rebecca Camber, Mark Branagan and Gerard Couzens in Spain



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