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A graphic designer who turned whistleblower about a famed 1995 BBC Princess Diana interview, which an independent probe earlier this year found was obtained by a journalist using “deceitful” methods, has reached an agreement with the U.K. public broadcaster that includes unspecified financial compensation.
The BBC on Friday repeated a “full and unconditional apology” to the designer, Matt Wiessler, “for the way he was treated by the corporation in the past” and also apologized to his family. “Mr. Wiessler acted with complete integrity, including in raising his concerns at the time, and we are sorry that these were not listened to.”
Wiessler’s lawyer, Louis Charalambous at Simons Muirhead Burton LLP, added: “Mr. Wiessler is relieved that the BBC has now matched the (BBC) director general’s fulsome apologies with appropriate financial compensation for the wrongs done to him and the profound impact they had on his and his family’s life. It is important to my client that the BBC has acknowledged that he acted properly and responsibly throughout.”
The two parties said the terms of the agreement are confidential.
Wiessler, who worked on BBC programs at the time, said Martin Bashir called him in 1995 to ask him to mock up fake bank statements that claimed to show the media were paying associates of Diana’s family for information. Bashir wanted to use the fake documents to win the trust of Diana’s brother and secure the TV interview.
The BBC layer said it has a handwritten note from Diana stating that the documents played “no part in her decision to take part in the interview.” But the broadcaster launched an internal investigation. Wiessler was banned from working for the BBC, but its then-news concluded that while Bashir “wasn’t thinking” when he ordered the documents, the journalist was ultimately an “honest and honorable man.”
The independent inquiry found otherwise and exonerated Wiessler, calling him “an entirely reputable graphic designer who did freelance work for the BBC. Nobody has criticized him for accepting the commission.”
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