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The story behind Nothing but the Truth

Nothing but the Truth was inspired by the experience of a good friend of mine who received a knock at the door which changed his life and started a five-year nightmare. When it was over, he said, `It could not have got any worse. I wrote the book to prove that it could have been.

He was a perfectly ordinary guy who got caught up in a Kafkaesque nightmare of trying to explain his business dealings of twenty years before, to officials from a failing government agency set up to recover the proceeds of crime. Lacking the skill and resources to go after big time crooks, they went after people who would not fight back. Similar to the Benefits Agency going after the little old lady who claims a tenner too much, while the foreign criminal with multiple identities gets away with it because the case is too complex to prove; the Assets Recovery Agency (since disbanded), traded on the fact there was no case law. They treated their targets as guilty and needing to prove their innocence. This was a lot easier than actually making a case, and many people settled just to get the ARA of their backs and get on with their lives again, rather than having to go cap in hand every month to ask permission to spend their own money on household necessities. The accounting companies staffing the ARA didn’t care their costs were ten times the income the Agency recovered. They were making money from the taxpayer hand over fist. Nothing new there.

My friend took them on and won, but it took five years and his entire family bore the battle scars.

I said there was a book in it, but financial fraud is a dry subject. But the way the ARA latched onto him, by following the money from a much bigger investigation they could not prove, intrigued me. I wondered what if they offered my friend a deal to get to a bigger fish? He thought it was nonsense, but on one visit to his home on a private gated estate, a police scene of crime squad was taping off a recently built mock Georgian mansion. They were investigating the murder of the owner, a wealthy Russian. I put two and two together and Nothing but the Truth was born.

It is a work of pure fiction, but similar things have happened in real life.

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