Tory councillor Ray Theodoulou hits out over 'gutter politics'
A TORY councillor has branded a Lib Dem move to unveil his former position at the helm of a Hong Kong firm involved in a financial scandal "gutter politics of the worst kind".
Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member for finance and Cotswold district councillor Ray Theodoulou (Con, East Cotswolds) was chief executive of a Hong Kong investment arm of Standard Chartered bank when a market-rigging operation was uncovered in 1994.
Although he did not join the firm until 1992, after illegal share flotation practices were already established, Cllr Theodoulou resigned from his post and was publicly reprimanded by Hong Kong officials for "failing to exercise proper management, supervision and control over Standard Chartered Securities".
Last month, the Cotswolds Lib Dem group approached Cllr Theodoulou to confirm his involvement in the bank. Shortly afterwards, while he was on holiday in Australia, a story appeared in Private Eye, for which Cllr Theodoulou is now considering legal action.
And a statement was subsequently published on the Lib Dem’s website, which questioned Cllr Theodoulou’s character and ability to perform his council roles in light of his involvement at the bank. This statement has since been amended.
Cllr Theodoulou told the Standard that the Lib Dems had previously made defamatory statements, which had been withdrawn before.
A CEO should take full responsibility for his organisation if wrong doing is revealed even if he has been unaware of it. Most people at the time agreed that this was an unhappy though honourable course to take.Cllr Ray Theodoulou
He said: "Regrettably they have now attempted to damage my reputation yet again, by publishing selective and inaccurate details and misleading and misinforming voters.
"Theirs are gutter politics of the worst kind; I am sure they will be unacceptable to voters."
Currently, Cllr Theodoulou is a GCC cabinet member for finance, a chairman of CDC’s audit committee and chairman of GCC’s Gloucestershire Pension Fund committee, with responsibility for more than £1bn of pension investments affecting around 40,000 public sector workers.
CDC Lib Dem leader Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Lib Dem, Churn Valley), said: "I find it troubling because of his positions of responsibility all connected with financial matters, and particularly the pension fund."
Cllr Theodoulou said that he did not handle cash or make investment decisions in his position on the fund and any suggestion that current or prospective pensioners would be at risk was "shabby political point scoring" and "grossly irresponsible".
He admitted that he never disclosed his resignation from Standard Chartered Securities with GCC because he felt it was irrelevant and he had not been involved in or accused of wrong doing.
"I felt then as I do now that a CEO should take full responsibility for his organisation if wrong doing is revealed even if he has been unaware of it. Most people at the time agreed that this was an unhappy though honourable course to take.
"These events have no relevance to my work as an elected member at GCC."
For Cllr Theodoulou's answers to the Standard in full, see below.