Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/1999/11/24/police_to_investigate_hack_attack/

Police to investigate hack attack on Tory bank accounts

Funding fiasco causes paranoid politicians to rant incoherently

By Kieren McCarthy

Posted in Business, 24th November 1999 14:56 GMT

The Tory party has called in the cops to investigate whether its bank accounts have been hacked. The move follows the Times' investigation into the party's treasurer, Michael Ashcroft, who it accused of laundering drug money through his interests in Belize. The newspaper based its story on Ashcroft's confidential bank statements, and also discovered donations to party coffers from a Belize bank –- going against the Conservatives' pledge to ban foreign donations. However, it remains a mystery how the Times gained access to the accounts, leading the Tory party to believe it had been the victim of a hacker. This set off a chain reaction of accusation, denial and general paranoia which is still going on as we speak. Tory chairman Michael Ancram is leading the pack: it's all a dirty tricks campaign, he said, before launching into a mad tirade about a climate of fear, silenced dissidents, smeared opponents and lust for power. William Hague –- not exactly the greatest judge of character –- has come in to give his full backing to whoever wants it, but presumably will slope off before it all goes belly up; tory deputy chairman Tim Collins has gone for the calm approach but forgotten to include any logic in his arguments; Times editor Peter Stothard denies any knowledge of wrongdoing; and the Labour party is so smug it's painful. The only person not getting his tuppence worth is the man behind it all, Michael Ashcroft. He appears to have vanished of the face of the Earth. ®