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BBC looks into allegations of expenses misuse by Yentob

LONDON - Alan Yentob, the BBC arts presenter and director of drama and entertainment, has threatened legal action to defend himself against a 'whispering campaign' that has resulted in an inquiry into allegations of expenses misuse.

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Yentob, who received a £20,000 bonus for his work on the documentary strand 'Imagine', is alleged to have used chauffeur-driven cars and received upgrades on flights using the BBC's expense budget.

Yentob believes a disgruntled colleague or colleagues may be briefing against him, but has agreed to fully cooperate with the inquiry, authorised by BBC director-general Mark Thompson on Friday.

Over the weekend, the BBC has rallied to Yentob's defence. The former director-general, Greg Dyke, confirmed the £20,000 bonus and said of his colleague: "I have always been a great fan of Alan's. Last year, I recommended he receive a special bonus because of all the additional work he put in when 'Imagine' was created."

As well as being a presenter and director of drama, entertainment and children's programmes, Yentob was given the additional role of creative director by the newly appointed Thompson, who described him as a "creative champion".

The inquiry comes at a sensitive time for the BBC with its annual report and accounts due to be published tomorrow, and there has already been a great deal of speculation over Greg Dyke's £456,000 payoff.

Yentob first faced criticism back in 2002 when he hosted a Glastonbury party at his mansion in Somerset with BBC money. The corporation defended Yentob and said the party was an appropriate event to stage because it televised the music festival.

Thompson has asked the BBC's chief operating officer to examine the recent concerns and report back to him.

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