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March 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The BBC has again fallen into a quagmire of controversy over one of its investigative news programs. The public broadcaster today (Thursday) postponed an episode of its flagship Panorama series after it learned that a member of its production team sent a message to a security consultant offering him a job with the BBC in return for information about the company he was working for. The program had been looking into the operations of Harlequin, a luxury property developer that allegedly enticed investors into buying second homes in the Caribbean that eventually collapsed in value. Harlequin confirmed today (Thursday) that a consultant to the company, Sean Ghent, had received a message via the LinkedIn business social network from BBC producer Matthew Chapman, saying in part that he was aware that the company may not “have the money to pay people for much longer.” However, he noted, “Panorama and the BBC is [sic] always using security protection officers and although I cannot guarantee anything we may be able to put things your way. How would you feel helping me out in a totally confidential way?” In an interview with the London Times, Ghent said that he was shocked by the producer’s message. “He was suggesting my job might disappear,” he said. “It seemed to me he was trying to offer me an enticement.” For its part, Harlequin fired off a letter to the BBC legal department saying that Chapman’s offer “appears to be tantamount to an attempted bribe.”