Legacy: Shocking account of criminal gangs' interference in Olympic borough hits the shelves
PUBLISHED: 09:21 25 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:21 25 July 2019
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A battle for control of a strip of land in Newham is at the centre of a series of explosive allegations published in a new book today, Thursday, July 25.
Legacy: Gangsters, Corruption and the London Olympics is the culmination of years of research by freelance journalist Michael Gillard.
The book takes as its point of departure the shadow cast over the 2012 Olympics by suspicions of indirect interference in the affairs of the host borough.
In a series of jaw-dropping anecdotes Legacy probes a web of alleged links between organised criminals, crooked police officers, big business and a number of former council employees, and sheds light on previously-unknown episodes in Newham's fraught recent history.
The book's imminent publication was flagged in Parliament last week during Prime Minister's Questions by Conservative MP Sir Peter Bottomley.
He said: "May I refer the prime minister to the book Legacy by Michael Gillard on the legacy of the Olympics? It is about Gillard's investigation into the criminals involved.
"I am not suggesting that she reads it before next week, but those who do look at it will see how the Directorate of Professional Standards in the Met overturned the police officer who was investigating the criminals."
Legacy's opening chapters advance a recent history of Canning Town and the Royal Docks pockmarked by vicious turf wars between gangsters for control of the lucrative "Silvertown strip".
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It purports to chart the personal trajectory of UK organised crime boss David Hunt from upstart East End gangster to head of an expansive criminal empire.
Simultaneously, the book follows the Newham crime squad's covert efforts to bring the "untouchable" Hunt to justice - and how these were ultimately thwarted, not by gangsters, but by the Metropolitan Police itself.
The final chapters zero in on alleged conflicts of interest within Newham Council during the tenure of the previous mayor, Sir Robin Wales.
Legacy unearths evidence of historic "kickbacks-for-contracts" arrangements in the council's enforcement division and highlights potential conflicts of interest at the heart of the bidding process for the Olympic Stadium in 2010.
Alongside a raft of supporting documents including court records and leaked reports, Gillard's evidence-based account is guided by the testimonies of a constellation of first-hand sources, among them Hunt's former associates, ex-police officers and council whistleblowers.
Two emergent themes are institutional cover-ups going back to the 1990s and the personal toll taken on individuals who faced an uphill struggle to expose what they believed to be corruption.
How the book's principal subjects have reacted to its content is not yet known and it was described by one early reviewer as "the longest suicide note in history".
English novelist John Pearson, the biographer of the Kray twins, said Legacy "reveals criminal corruption on a scale that the Kray twins would never have dreamt of. To write a book like Legacy requires courage as well as literary skill."
Legacy is published in hardback today courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing, RRP £18.99.