The BBC has postponed an episode of Panorama covering overseas luxury property company Harlequin following allegations of bribery.
The Great Savings Wipeout, listed as "an investigation into financial scandals that could wipe out people's life savings, including a £250m Caribbean rental-home development scheme," was due to air on Monday.
It has now been postponed while the BBC investigates an alleged bribe offered to a security consultant at Harlequin by Panorama producer Matthew Chapman.
In emails seen by the Times, Chapman insinuated to Sean Ghent that Harlequin would soon be forced out of business, and appeared to offer him work at the BBC in return for information.
"I was wondering if I could be a bit cheeky here," he wrote. "It's unlikely that... Harlequin will be around for much longer, nor will [they] have money to pay people for much longer. There are [sic] a long list of creditors already I understand.
"Panorama and the BBC is [sic] always using security and protection officers and although I cannot guarantee anything we may be able to put things your way. Or we could work together on stories. It's always good to keep one eye on the future! How would you feel helping me out in a totally confidential way."
In a letter to the BBC's litigation department, a spokesperson for Harlequin said the email to Ghent was "simply staggering".
"It appears to constitute a flagrant and in our view highly improper attempt by [the journalist] to induce Mr Ghent into disclosing information about Harlequin in return for the potential reward of future work from the BBC. In short, it appears to be tantamount to an attempted bribe."
A spokesperson for the BBC said a member of staff had been suspended while it carried out an investigation.
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