A FORMER British ambassador in Madrid, Giles Paxman, was instructed by the Government to set up sales meetings between a British fraudster and senior Mexican officials during his time as ambassador to Mexico.
It has been revealed the UK Government accepted over £5,000 in payments from Kent businessman Gary Bolton to assist him in a global trade in fake bomb detectors, based on novelty golf ball finders.
He was able to hire UK diplomats to set up introductions for as little as £250 a time without proper checks on his products, as revealed in Whitehall documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.
The Government secured the backing of Mr Paxman, who recently retired from his post in Spain, to set up meetings in Mexico where they are known to have been sold.
They also supplied uniformed Royal Engineers to promote the sale of the bomb detectors at trade fairs in the Middle East and Europe.
Mr Paxman, brother of BBC presenter Jeremy Paxman, said he had no reason to suspect there was anything dubious about Bolton’s dealings.
“I am sure that I would have been very careful not to provide any specific endorsement of Mr Bolton’s products,” he said.
The 48-year-old was jailed for seven years in 2013 for fraud, following allegations that the use of his devices had cost lives.
A senior Home Office scientist issued a warning to the Government after testing an early version of Bolton’s bomb detector in 2001.
Tim Sheldon, of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, said the results were circulated to about 1,000 officials.
The Government has denied any knowledge the equipment was bogus and claims it could not have known it was backing a scam.