With a new director general at the BBC, those allegations are being reconsidered. This could not come at a very difficult time for the media company: the BBC is currently focusing on negotiating a future funding package with the British government. The store’s publicly funded model faces growing scrutiny, including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
But BBC Director-General Tim Davy is dedicated to investigating the circumstances of the interview. A retired senior judge will preside over the hearing.
“We will do everything we can to get to the bottom of this,” Davy said in a statement.
Matt Weisler, the BBC’s graphic designer at the time, approached Bashir and admitted to mocking bank statements when he said he needed “some bank statements”. Princess Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, claims that Bashir deceived him by showing false bank statements, prompting the journalist to introduce him to his sister.
“The whole precedent of the interview is set on false and bad grounds,” said Richard Kay, reporter for the Daily Mail.
Buckingham Palace was blindsided by the 1995 interview, says Charles Anson, the Queen’s press secretary at the time.
“Not much we can say,” Anson told CNN.
After the interview, in 1996, the BBC launched an internal investigation and concluded that the documents were forged, but did not play a role in Diana’s decision to participate in the interview.
Bashir did not publicly defend himself and did not respond to CNN comment. He is currently on leave, recovering from heart surgery and has problems with Kovit-19, according to a BBC report.
– CNN’s Max Foster contributed to this report.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misrepresented the year of the BBC interview. It was held in 1995.