With a new Director General at the BBC, these allegations are being reexamined. This couldn’t come at an even more inconvenient time for the media company: The BBC is currently focused on negotiating a future funding package with the UK government. The publicly funded implementer model is facing increasing scrutiny, including from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
But the BBC’s managing director, Tim Davey, is dedicated to investigating the circumstances of the interview. A retired senior judge will take over the investigation.
“We will do everything we can to get to the truth of this matter,” Davy said in a statement.
Matt Whistler, who was a BBC graphic designer at the time, admitted making fun of the bank statements after Al-Bashir contacted him and said he needed “some bank data”. Princess Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, alleges that Al-Bashir deceived him into giving him false bank statements, prompting him to introduce the journalist to his sister.
“The basic idea of the interview was laid on the wrong and elusive footing,” said Richard Kay, Daily Mail reporter.
He shocked Buckingham Palace with a 1995 interview, according to Charles Anson, the Queen’s press secretary at the time.
“There wasn’t much we could say,” Anson told CNN.
Shortly after the interview, in 1996, the BBC launched an internal investigation and concluded that the documents were forged but did not play a role in Diana’s decision to participate in the interview.
Al-Bashir has not publicly defended himself, nor did he respond to CNN’s request for comment. A BBC statement said he is currently on leave, recovering from heart surgery and complications from Covid-19.
CNN’s Max Foster contributed to this report.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly mentioned a general BBC interview. It was conducted in 1995.