Max Clifford admits knowing about “prominent people that are part of paedophile rings”

In a 2004 interview with Australian TV presenter Andrew Denton, Max Clifford admitted having information about “prominent people that are part of paedophile rings”.

ANDREW DENTON: After doing this for 15 years, this particular area of your work, does anything shock you anymore?

MAX CLIFFORD: Yeah. I mean, probably not the same as it would most people. And there’s still an awful lot of things that I can’t expose because there’s a lot of very powerful people that are doing an awful lot of things, and they’re very clever and they do have vast amounts of money, lawyers, etc. Prominent people that are part of paedophile rings, but you can’t get close to them, and they have the money to pay off parents when they find out that they’ve been abusing their children. So, there’s lots of areas where I wish, if you like, I had greater powers.

ANDREW DENTON: ‘Cause I read an interview with you in the ‘Sunday Times’ a few years back where you referred to exactly this – you said, “I know of a rich man from a top family who buggered a small boy and I was going to reveal the story, but I discovered that the rich man’s family had paid off the victim’s family with a cheque more than they would earn in their lifetime, and I accepted that and I respect that.” Was that an ethical thing to do?

MAX CLIFFORD: Well, I mean, first of all, I can’t break the story unless they’re prepared to cooperate. It’s no good me going to an editor of a newspaper and say this has happened and the family say it’s not true – they won’t run the story. So I don’t have a choice. I totally understood that. It’s all very well for me to say, “This is what you should do to protect other children, etc, etc,” although I do think that experience basically stopped his activities. But, you know, that’s their choice. I can’t say to them… How am I to say? “It’s alright for me – I’m extremely wealthy. Turn down a vast amount of money which will establish you and look after you and your family for the rest of your lives because I think you should stand up.” It’s their decision.

ANDREW DENTON: Could you not have gone to the police?

MAX CLIFFORD: And done what? They couldn’t have proved it, because the family and the boy say it’s not true, Andrew. It’s not that simple. Believe me, there’s lots of stories I’d love to break, and I know them to be true, but you’ve got to prove things.

Full transcript of interview

  1. Troyhand said:,4444376
    The Argus-Press – 23 December 1999
    Another career ruined, another scalp for publicist
    By Robert Barr

    LONDON (AP) – When the political career of thriller-writer Jaffrey Archer went down in flames recently, Max Clifford held the smoking gun.

    As usual.

    It was the same Max Clifford whose parade of talking mistresses forced the resignations of a member of the Cabinet in 1994, and a senior military officer in 1992.

    And it was Clifford whose client accused glam rocker Gary Glitter of sexual abuse earlier this month – and wasn’t believed a bonus for her from a tabloid newspaper if Glitter was convicted.

    Clifford is famous, or notorious, in Britain as the publicist who turns tittle-tattle into tabloid cash – the more sensational, the more cash.

    The Archer demolition was classic Clifford: He arranged a deal between the News of the World, the best-selling Sunday tabloid, and Ted Francis, a friend who said he had agreed to lie for Archer in 1987.

    Archer has admitted he asked Francis to lie 13 years ago when Archer was embroiled in a libel suit against the Daily Star newspaper, which had accused him of hiring a prostitute. He asked Francis to cover for him by saying they were having dinner together when he was actually having dinner with a close female friend.

    Archer, who was close to former prime minsters Margaret Thatcher and John Major, denied having slept with a prostitute, but that controversy ended his political ambitions. He dropped out of the race to become London’s first elected mayor the day before the News of the World published the story.

    “I told Jeffrey Archer nine months ago: ‘Jeffrey, you know you must be absolutely crazy. You’ve got all the money, all the success, wonderful lifestyle – why do you need to be mayor of London? You know what’s going to happen – all of the skeletons, everyone’s going to be digging.” Clifford said in an interview in his cluttered, crowded walk-up office on fashionable New Bond Street.

    “He thought he’d get away with it. Those two qualities – huge ego, huge, huge quest for power. He couldn’t help himself, had to have it, no matter what the risk.”

    Clifford’s office is decorated with front pages he helped produce, including the famous March 13, 1986, edition of The Sun: “FREDDIE STARR ATE MY HAMSTER.”

    Starr, a comedian, wanted to suppress those sensational charges by a former girlfriend, but Clifford sensed useful publicity. After the story broke, Starr posed for a picture with a hamster named Sandwich perched on his shoulder.

    “We turned the whole thing into a huge joke. It was at the start of a British tour. Any dates that weren’t sold out were immediately sold out. They added dozens of dates, which were then sold out,” Clifford said.

    What the tabloids want, he says, is sensation: “It’s that headline that everyone’s going to say, ‘Bloody hell, what’s this?”

    Which, more or less, was the reaction of the trial judge in the Gary Glitter case.

    On Nov. 12, Glitter was acquitted of sexually assaulting Clifford’s client, Alison Brown, who began a relationship with the singer when she was 14. In his summation, the judge criticized the contract Clifford negotiated with the News of the World, which would pay her $40,000 if Glitter was convicted.

    “This is a highly reprehensible state of affairs,” Judge Neil Butterfield told the jury.

    Glitter – real name, Paul Gadd – subsequently pleaded guilty to 54 counts of possessing child pornography on his laptop computer, and was sentenced to four months in jail.

    The Press Complaints Commission is investigating the deal with Clifford’s client, but Clifford and the News of the World say they expected Glitter to be charged with abusing someone else and that the intention was for Brown to tell her story as a follow-up.

    By his own admission, Clifford is sometimes a bit relaxed about accuracy – a lesson he says he learned as a 19-year-old publicist working with the Beatles when they were struggling for a hit.

    “I’d say they sold 50,000 albums this week when I knew it was 5,000 but it made a better story. The journalist was happy: bigger headlines. It’s been going on ever since, really,” he said.

    But isn’t there an important difference between 50,000 and 5,000?

    “Yeah, but there is a difference between show business and rock-n-roll, and people in power – to me,” Clifford said, referring to the recent Archer revelations.

    “Whether Freddie ate the hamster or not, I don’t have any problem. If you’re a hamster, you probably will.”

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