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Posted: Friday, 23 July 2010 11:25

Pancho Campo Not Wanted Anymore

The red alert against Pancho Campo MW has been withdrawn according to a confirmed message received from him and his name is no more on the wanted list of Interpol which has given him a clean chit and he can breathe as a free and innocent man.

Pancho Campo at Vinoble 2010

The message received late last night, ‘it gives me great pleasure to inform you that Interpol has accepted our request to take Pancho from their Red Notice list. We have managed to prove that Pancho´s case was not handled well, the accusations were wrong and he should have never been listed in Interpol’s website. He is now a free and innocent man,’ does not need any further explanation.

Pancho Campo MW is the first Master of Wine from Spain. He had a case registered against him in Dubai in 2002 for a financial dispute with his erstwhile partner when he was running an event managing company there. He left the country in 2003 on the legal advice of his lawyer, presuming his presence was not required. However, since the case had not been settled, an arrest warrant was issued against him in 2005 and his name was reportedly given to Interpol who issued a Red Alert notice and put his name on their website, indicating that they were on his look-out.

Contrary to speculations that a Spanish journalist had accidentally come across his name in the list of wanted offenders on the Interpol website, Campo clarified the facts in a long personal chat with delWine in Jerez at Vinoble Gala Dinner organised by the Consejo Regulador of Sherries early last month. He said that he had been shocked when he was stopped last year by an immigration official during routine inspection while passing through Charles de Gaulle Airport at Paris and told him his name had cropped up in the computer as the a ‘wanted’ person by Interpol. He had explained to the officials who interrogated him for a couple of hours and were convinced of his innocence but told him that there was a procedure that had to be followed to get this name cleared.

Campo said he was taken aback because it was easy to find out his whereabouts as he was quite well- known in Spain through the Wine Academy and was involved in several well-publicized public events. Praising the immigration officials, he added, ‘the officials who were very cordial and helpful advised me that such unfortunate instances do take place some times. In fact they even guided me on the correct procedure to follow.’ In fact he confirmed that he was undergoing that procedure at the time and since it was a personal matter, delWine did not think it proper to publish the interview prematurely. He had been very optimistic that within a couple of weeks the issue would be resolved.

The news is apparently a result of the due process and natural justice has prevailed. The report of his being ‘wanted’ had been carried out by a highly respected British wine magazine in early February, 2009. A consequent follow up report by delWine had rued the fact and opined that it was premature and unfair to publish the story as it might affect the reputation of an individual-in this case of a person already renowned in the world of wine and a person who is the first Master of Wine from that country. There were reports of even rumblings within the Institute of Masters of Wine that his name should be removed from the roster- an unfair and a premature thought.

Campo who is an ace in event management –the business he was in before getting mesmerized with the world of wine and the business that got him into legal hassles, had already organised an international conference on Climate Control in February 2008 where he was able to rope in former US Vice President Al Gore. He was in the thick of organising the first international conference WineFuture in Rioja in November, 2009, which Robert Parker was to be the key speaker and several wine luminaries were to be the speakers, when the news story broke out.

He was obliged to step down as the Chairman of the conference. He also relinquished over the charge of The Wine Academy in order to focus on clearing his name, but working behind the scenes was able to help organise a very successful conference in which around 1000 delegates attended, more than twice the initial estimates. Robert Parker and all the speakers attended as planned. The same feat was repeated when he was organised the Vinoble last month ( May 30- June 2) for the first time, with accolades from the Government of Jerez, owner of the biennial show on Sherry and Sweet Wines. 

Although Pancho did not show any signs of anxiety at Vinoble, he must be relieved and can now look forward to achieving greater heights, which include organising the second edition of the WineFuture he is planning on November 1-3 next year in Hong Kong.

As the cliché goes, one cannot turn the clock back but hopefully, the incident has not done any irreparable damage to his reputation. Even the worst of skeptics were sympathetic to him in different measures. Most (including delWine) agreed that he should have informed the Institute of Masters of Wine before the news release became imminent. He did inform the speakers for the WineFuture conference, explaining them about the situation-but unfortunately after the news had been published. As he himself admits, ‘I left the country on the advice of my lawyer who said everything was hunky dory. Perhaps, this was a mistake on my part. I should have stayed back till the case was sorted out.’

Interestingly, there was a clear East-West divide on the reportage issue. While the journalists in the West felt that there was nothing wrong in reporting about the arrest warrant, those in India and further east, felt it was unfair. ‘Innocent under proven guilty’ may be the dictum followed in the West too, but the possible damage to reputation unfairly was considered more important than publishing a report based on conjectures by the wine and non-wine persons in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Thailand etc. Hopefully, the western journalists and wine producers would make a note of the cultural differences and keep such sensitivities in mind-at least while dealing with these markets.

For our earlier article, visit http://www.indianwineacademy.com/blog_25_328.aspx

It is interesting to note that the partner had been a woman- the name Jackie should have been a give away. But then we have our own Jackie in Bollywood- male actor Jackie Shroff!

       

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