By Vivien Schweitzer
From PlaybillArts.com - 22 May 2007
Michael Arnold, a longtime friend of composer Peter Maxwell Davies and the husband of Davies's manager, has been arrested in connection with the possible embezzlement of £500,000 from the composer's bank accounts. The 73-year-old Arnold was arrested and questioned in London last week about money missing from Davies's business account. He was released on bail in advance of a hearing on May 30, according to The Times of London.
Judy Arnold, Michael's wife, has been Davies's manager for 32 years, according to The Times, and the composer is reportedly good friends with both Arnolds and has dedicated compositions to them. Davies became suspicious when a large sum went missing from the proceeds of MaxOpus, the company he founded in 1999, which operates one of the oldest classical music download websites. The Arnolds were made directors of MaxOpus in 2000, according to The Daily Mail. A police investigation resulted in Michael Arnold's arrest on April 18.
Davies, 72, has been a prolific composer since the 1960s and in 2004 was made Master of the Queen's Music, a honorary position dating back to the 17th century. There are no fixed requirements for those honored with the role, but the holder is sometimes requested to write pieces for royal or state occasions.
The maverick Master of the Queen's Music
From ThisIsLondon.com - 19.05.07
The finances of the Queen's official composer are at the centre of a fraud investigation after the discovery of an alleged £500,000 "black hole" in his accounts.
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen's Music, is one of Britain's most influential and respected musicians.
Last week, Michael Arnold - his friend and long-serving manager - was arrested after Sir Peter, 72, found sizeable discrepancies in his business dealings.
Mr Arnold, who has looked after the composer's financial affairs for more than 25 years, was later released on police bail. He has not been charged.
Sir Peter, who has conducted some of the world's finest orchestras, including the BBC Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic, refused to discuss the on-going police investigation.
But friends said he has been deeply disturbed by the alleged fraud, thought to involve his private company Maxopus, one of the Internet's first classical music download websites.
Sir Peter set up the service with Mr Arnold and his wife Judy in 1999 and Mr and Mrs Arnold were appointed directors in 2000. Sir Peter has dedicated pieces of music to the couple.
The composer, who lives on the remote Orkney island of Sanday, contacted the Northern Constabulary in Inverness after becoming suspicious about proceeds he should have received from his work.
After initial inquiries were made in Scotland, the investigation was passed to the Metropolitan Police. An officer from Northern Constabulary has also travelled to London to assist in the operation.
Mr Arnold, 73, was arrested by the Met's Kensington branch on April 18 and has been bailed to return to Notting Hill police station later this month.
On Friday, Mrs Arnold refused to discuss the investigation at the Fifties home she and her husband share near Earl's Court underground station in West London.
Mrs Arnold was sunbathing on the balcony of the couple's third-floor flat when a Mail on Sunday reporter called.
She said her husband was away and could not be contacted. Asked about his arrest, she added: "I can't comment. I don't want to talk about it." But both Northern Constabulary and Scotland Yard have confirmed the investigation.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "The Metropolitan Police Force and Northern Constabulary conducted a joint investigation into an alleged fraud.
"On April 18, a man of 73 years was arrested. He was interviewed at Notting Hill police station in connection with this investigation and later bailed to return in late May pending further inquiries."
Police in Inverness also confirmed their involvement in the case following the complaint by Sir Peter.
A spokesman said: "Northern Constabulary and the Metropolitan Police are involved in a joint inquiry into a complaint made by Sir Peter Maxwell Davis, Master of the Queen's Music.
"The complaint surrounds an alleged fraud in relation to his business account and subsequently the arrest of a man was made on April 18.
"As it is an active police inquiry, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."
An agent for the composer, who works at London's Royal Academy of Music, said Sir Peter was abroad and could not be contacted for comment.
He is understood to have been in Bremen, Germany working on a new commission.
The police investigation is the latest blow to hit the flamboyant musician, who is openly gay and enjoyed a reputation as an "enfant terrible" during the Sixties.
Last year he became embroiled in a bitter row with Orkney council leaders after he was banned from marrying builder Colin Parkinson, 52, in a civil partnership.
Sir Peter, who has lived on Sanday for the past nine years, planned to tie the knot with Mr Parkinson, his partner of six years, at the Sanday Light Railway in front of friends, including Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish.
However, the council refused to give local registrar Charlie Ridley, who is also Sir Peter's friend, permission to carry out the ceremony on the island, which can only be reached by ferry or plane.
He is now seeking legal advice and threatening to take action against the council.