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The Corridors of Power...

When British Airways announced it was selling its German subsidiary Deutsche BA for a token sum, there was inevitable interest in the purchaser Hans Rudolf Wohrl. Reputedly one of Germany's richest men, Herr Wohrl (department store magnate and aviation nut) appears best known for his wife Dagmar, a prominent German MP.

A trawl back through the newspaper cuttings unearthed an incident in 1994 when the German magazine Bild ran a front page photo of Frau Wohrl naked except for a bridal veil and a pair of long white socks. It transpired that she had once starred in a soft-porn film, When Chastity Belts Rattle In The Night.

It reminded me of the rumpus when Matt Barrett replaced Martin Taylor as chief executive of Barclays in 1999. The original choice, Mike O’Neill, a former US marine, had rather embarrassingly failed a health check and bowed out after just one day in the job. Barrett, a distinguished-looking Irish-Canadian, was seen as a ‘safe pair of hands’.

Journalists in Canada wasted little time tipping off their UK partners in grime about Barrett’s colourful private life. Interest focused on his estranged wife, Anne-Marie Sten, a former model who had posed naked in magazines. Barrett took it all in his stride.

Porn has a nasty way of coming back at you. Tim Blackstone, the City PR man, was renowned for his performances in soft-porn films such as Emmanuelle in Soho and I Am Not Feeling Myself Tonight. This all happened 30 years ago, but, once in print, no-one is safe, as Deutsche BA’s new owner was recently reminded.

If there is a skeleton hidden in the closet, it is bound to come out sooner or later.

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