With a new director general at the BBC, these allegations are being re-examined. The media company could not come up with a more unconventional time: the BBC is now focusing on discussing a future funding package with the British government. The UK-funded model is under scrutiny, including by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
But the BBC’s director general Tim Davy is committed to investigating the circumstances of the interview. A retired senior judge will lead the investigation.
“We will do everything we can to get to the bottom of this,” Davy said in a statement.
Matt Wheeler, the BBC’s graphic designer at the time, admitted that Bashir had mocked the bank statements after approaching him and saying he needed “some bank statements”. Charles Spencer, Princess Diana’s brother, claims that Bashir deceived her by showing false bank statements and persuaded the journalist to introduce her to her sister.
“The whole part of the interview was set up for wrong and dirty reasons,” said Richard Kay, a reporter for the Daily Mail.
In a 1995 interview, Charles Anson, then Queen’s press secretary, commented that Buckingham Palace was blind.
“We could not say more,” Anson told CNN.
Shortly after the interview, in 1996, the BBC launched an internal investigation and concluded that the documents had been fabricated but had played no part in Diana’s decision to attend the interview.
Bashir did not publicly defend himself and did not respond to CNN’s comments. He is currently on leave, recovering from heart surgery and suffering from complications from Kovid-19, according to a statement from the BBC.
– Max Foster of CNN contributed to this report.
Correction: The previous version of this story incorrectly stated the year of the BBC interview. This was done in 1995.