28 September 2009 | Jake Kanter
A woman criticised for taking huge fees for her consultancy work for collapsed carmaker MG Rover has spoken out at media scrutiny over her personal life.
In an interview with the Financial Times (FT), Dr Qu Li said she had been punished twice.
"I feel that I was stoned to death for three years by government inspectors," she told the newspaper last week. "Now I am being stoned to death again by the press."
Li received contracts totalling more than £1.6 million from MG Rover and had a "personal relationship" with one of its directors, Nick Stephenson, according to a UK government-commissioned report into the firm's closure.
Chinese-born Li said she was "rubbished" in the report, which described her fees to help MG Rover find a Chinese buyer as "much too high". Apart from her translation skills, the report added, she "didn't seem to add much".
The directors made "no attempt" to find the market rate for her services, or look around for other consultants, the investigation found (Web news, 14 September).
Li told the FT: "When you are working intensively on a deal - and I was in China for 180 days negotiating - all the team members try to support each other. Maybe sometimes the support went slightly beyond the boundaries. But as far as I am concerned this was not a relationship."