The whistleblower who first sounded the alarm over ‘dirty tricks’ that Martin Bashir used to get his infamous interview with Princess Diana is set to get a six-figure payout from the BBC.
Matt Wiessler, a graphic artist who said back in 1996 that Bashir had asked him to forge bank documents to help earn Diana’s trust, said his career was ruined after he spoke out and was blacklisted by the broadcaster.
The BBC has already accepted full liability for Mr Wiessler losses, and lawyers are now said to be close to signing off on a £750,000 payout to the designer.
The whistleblower who first sounded the alarm over how Martin Bashir was able to secure his 1995 interview with princess Diana is in-line for a six-figure payout from the broadcaster
Matt Wiessler, a graphic artist who said Bashir had asked him to forge bank statements, said his career was ruined after he revealed the existence of the documents to the public
Mr Wiessler had been demanding £1million for loss of earnings, according to a source who spoke to The Telegraph.
BBC bosses have accepted that compensation is due and will not take the case to court, but are haggling over the final price tag.
‘The BBC is expecting to pay out in the region of £750,000,’ the source said.
MailOnline has contacted the BBC for comment.
Bashir’s interview with Diana, which aired in November 1995, was a sensation – marking the first time a senior royal had sat down for such a candid one-on-one.
During the conversation, Diana talked about there being ‘three of us’ in her marriage to Charles – referring to Camilla – admitted to having an affair of her own and confessed to self-harming.
The fallout from the interview was hugely damaging for the Royal Family, and shortly afterwards the Queen wrote to Charles and Diana asking them to divorce.
But questions were soon raised over how Bashir had become so close to the Princess, with the Mail on Sunday first exposing the forged bank documents in 1996.
Mr Wiessler told the newspaper that Bashir had asked him to forge documents showing payments from a newspaper group to senior staff employed by Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother.
Earl Spencer said the forged accounts were part of an effort to ‘groom me’ by revealing media ‘spies’ within his household.
He subsequently introduce Bashir to his sister, saying years later that – had it not been for the forged documents – he would never have done so.
Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother, said the documents were part of a ‘grooming’ effort by Mr Bashir to win his trust and get him to introduce the journalist to his sister
Bashir admitted at the time to having the documents forged, but denied ever showing them to anybody.
Around two months after the BBC interview aired, Mr Wiessler said his house was broken into and CDs containing the forged documents stolen.
He also said that work had dried up after the BBC blacklisted him, with documents released under freedom of information request backing his account up.
Bosses had issued an edict never to work with him, in part because he had spoken to the media about the documents.
Despite the fallout, it took until November 2020 for an inquiry to be established based on the Mail on Sunday’s reporting – culminating in the Dyson report.
The report slammed BBC bosses, including former director-general Tony Hall, for covering up information on how Bashir was able to secure the interview.
A 1996 internal inquiry into the interview was also slammed as ‘woefully ineffective’, forcing Tim Suter – another BBC boss who was part of the inquiry – to step down as chair of Ofcom.
Tony Hall also left his job as head of the National Gallery, saying that continuing in the role would be a ‘distraction’.
Martin Bashir, who was still working as the BBC’s religion editor, also quit the corporation in May this year, citing health issues.
Join our social media accounts to watch exclusive videos and photos