BBC chairman Richard Sharp helped arrange an £800,000 loan for the then prime minister Boris Johnson, just weeks before being selected for the role, The Sunday Times has claimed.
The paper alleged that in late 2020 Mr Sharp introduced multimillionaire Canadian businessman Sam Blyth, who had proposed to act as the then PM’s guarantor for a credit facility, to the cabinet secretary.
It said Johnson, Sharp and Blyth then had dinner at the prime minister’s country house Chequers before the loan was completed, though they denied the PM’s finances were discussed.
Sharp, a former Goldman Sachs banker and Conservative party donor, was announced as the government’s choice for the BBC role in January 2021.
The BBC stressed it played no role in the chair recruitment and that any questions were a matter for the government.
Mr Johnson disputed the claims, which were defended by the foreign secretary on the Sunday morning media round.
James Cleverly said that Mr Sharp’s appointment was made on his merits as far as he could see.