Questions concerning "Taming the Tiger" - by the 'evangelist' Tony Anthony (Avanti Ministries)


18 March 2014
A new website has appeared claiming to demonstrate "proof" that Tony Anthony has been telling the truth all along.
It does nothing of the kind.

For instance, it shows a video of him claiming to be visiting a former pupil, who is teaching kung fu in London.
We have been in touch with the kung fu school which Tony Anthony visited, and have established that they have never heard of Tony Anthony, let alone been taught by him.  He came under false pretences several years ago, and has deeply offended them in the process.
They also say that Tony's co-author, Angela Little, phoned them in 2013, to try to establish some background for Tony's kung fu in Swiss Cottage. She was told that no one had ever heard of him, and he was not involved in anything to do with them.  
That Tony should use a video he took under false pretences to seek to establish something which is a lie is not surprising:  it is his modus operandi.
What is still deeply disturbing is that certain people continue to affirm his lies, rather than call him to repentance.

[NB the use of the word 'lie' is, I know, very strong.  But it is the only word that is appropriate, given that the Evangelical Alliance has found that 95% of Tony Anthony's testimony is fabrication.]


October 24, 2013
A number of news articles have appeared in New Zealand where Tony Anthony has (surely surprisingly!) appeared with John Lawson (an evangelist with Escape Ministries)

Meanwhile, it is heartening that wikipedia has picked up the story and is presenting the truth in a balanced way: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Anthony_(evangelist)

It is disturbing that some people in Christian ministry should continue to give Tony publicity, and not now publically call him to repentance. It makes you wonder about their own commitment to truth, and therefore faithfulness to the gospel.

August 26, 2013
The EA has produced a statement: 
[As a result, the Avanti board decided to close down - http://www.tonyanthony.co.uk/avanti_statement.pdf ]

There have been various news articles:


As of today, to the best of my knowledge, Tony Anthony continues to protest his innocence, saying that any errors are minor or the result of necessary changes for security or personal reasons. He has yet to produce any concrete evidence for his life pre-Nicosia prison.


April 30, 2013:  I understand that the Evangelical Alliance in the UK has launched an investigation in to the concerns that have been raised about Tony Anthony and his ministry.
So that due process is followed, it will be best that no more comment is made until their conclusions have been published.
Any questions or comments concerning this matter will therefore not be responded to.
If you feel you have concrete evidence which is able to be substantiated (eg which primary school Tony went to), then please direct the information to the head of the Evangelical Alliance.
I will be on sabbatical this summer, so will be unable to respond to comments until the autumn.


It is now beyond doubt that Tony was born in July 1971. If you've read the book, you can do the maths on how old that makes him when he was a bodyguard "protecting some of the world's richest, most powerful people" - yet he is currently being advertised as having done this "in his early twenties".  He went to prison in Nicosia in 1989, so his bodyguard (handling weapons, driving cars, etc) activities will have taken place before then.
see www.crescentchurch.org/cmsfiles/files/Tony-Anthony-Event-flyers-PDF-version.pdf     [accessed Fri 18 Jan 2013]


26th Jan 2013 : Do you know of a church which has cancelled or postponed a visit, pending clarification of all these concerns?  It would be useful to know. 

Tuesday 6th November 2012:  there have been some significant new developments over these past five months (hence web update silence)
I hope soon to be able to give a link to a youtube presentation which has substantial new evidence concerning Tony Anthony's testimony. 
Suffice to say, the questions below only touch the surface.

THIS SITE IS NEW AND BEING UPDATED ALL THE TIME                                                                                                                                                    UPDATES below this are before:  Thursday 5th July 2012
IT'S AIM IS TO BE ACCURATE IN WHAT IT SAYS - BRINGING THE TRUTH TO LIGHT
Editorial note:  some updates to this site mean that some of the things said are not put in ways which would have been written had the updates been known.  (eg the fact of the Saudi ambassador to London being there from 1980-92 means that suppositions that he couldn't have gone from London to Cyprus become reality).  As a work in progress, I'm afraid such editorial inaccuracies are to be expected - short of me revising the whole document every time more is found out.  (I don't have time for that!).  The inaccuracy is in grammar more than actual truth, however.
If you can see any corrections or have additional information, please email me: tonyanthony.truth@gmail.com 
(for instance, if you have substantial rebuttal of this, I'd love to know, as I'm concerned we do not libel someone;  equally, if you have found other inaccuracies, or questions which ought to be answered, we can put these on this site too)
Do you know anyone in 'Taming the Tiger' (or think you know them)?  were you at school with Tony, or in prison?  Do you know the names of people in Tony's family?  We're keen to build as full a picture as we can of Tony ... in the full knowledge that some information may prove critical in confirming so much of Tony's life and ministry (or not, as the case may be).   Please email at the address above any information you may have - it may prove the missing link!

We are still waiting for Tony to come back to us with clarification of all these concerns:
After meeting Tony Anthony in person in April 2012, and raising a couple of questions (see below), he asked me to send him any more concerns I had and he would address them.  
So on 25 April 2012, I sent him a few questions, along with a link to this website. 
I know that this website was also drawn to his attention on 29 May 2012, as he was copied in to an email exchange between two ministers. 
I have heard no reply to date.

The key concern is that Tony claims events which seem to require him to be a time traveller in order for them to have occurred.
Today (Tues 3 July 2012) I happened to find evidence - online, from government sourced websites, that Tony's date of birth is in 1971 (or 1969, depending on the name he uses).  This means that he was 18 or 20 when he went to prison in Cyprus.  It also means that, according to his own testimony, he will have been 14 or 16 when he started working for the Saudi ambassador in London (or 16 or 18 in a later edition of Taming the Tiger).  He would have been 11 or 12 (13 or 14) when he acted as the bodyguard to the American businessman involved in a hostile takeover in Saudi Arabia (which I demonstrate was not possible legally until November 2011).  There is, in fact, a lot more information that I could give to confirm this.  But suffice to say, it begs some very serious questions. 

Tony was born in either 1969 or 1971 - according to paper he has filed with our government.
Calling himself Tony Anthony, as a director of Avanti, he says he was born in 1969.  See: http://company-director-check.co.uk/director/909337588 
Calling himself Andonis Anthony, as a director of Taming the Tiger film productions, he says he was born in 1971. See:   http://company-director-check.co.uk/director/915994552
No comment is made on the discrepancy in birth years, or the use of different names.
 
Thursday 5th July 2012:  At the moment, the news is full of the LIBOR scandal.  Bankers have been fixing the interest rate for years - and no one said a word.  The scandal is therefore all the bigger.
We also know, with a sense of great shame, that many very wicked events are coming to light in various denominations around the world, with respect to the horrors of child abuse. There appears to have been a combination of deceit, cover-up, indifference, looking the other way, and just simply not thinking to ask.  All churches today are learning that we must take the truth seriously, and investigate all claims, however uncomfortable.
I am not for a minute suggesting that Tony Anthony is guilty of anything like that. But I am saying that churches need to learn from our mistakes in the past, and not be indifferent to serious questions which are evaded or just not answered.
What shocks me is that Tony Anthony's book has been out for 8 years, and still the churches are not coming together to confront the deceit in our midst.  Please don't watch from the sidelines!  Please get in touch and join the work to reveal the truth.
[I should add:  if Tony's life story is true, then I would be among many who would be delighted to see transparent and truthful answers given. It is unacceptable for Tony to claim - as I understand he does - that 'security matters' mean he can't reveal the whole truth. He is an international evangelist, with a public website, vimeo videos, etc, etc. - if those in his past wanted to find him or his family, it couldn't be easier]


Summary of this site:
Early childhood
Who is the International Kung Fu Federation (based in Geneva)?
Saudi story - "hostile takeover" 
Working for the Saudi Ambassador to London, Italy and Cyprus: 1985 - Christmas 1989
Prison in Cyprus
Notes on a conversation with Tony in person on Saturday 21 April 2012
Questions asked of Authentic Media : Wed 25 April 2012
General observations and questions from the book:  (note form)
About the author of this site
Links on the web about Tony Anthony / Taming the Tiger
Evidence that the Saudi Ambassador claim is untrue (from The Times newspaper)



In the summer of 2001, Tony Anthony pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving, and perverting the cause of justice. He was sentenced to 15 months' in prison.
In 2003, Tony established 'Avanti Ministries'.
Given his colourful history and convictions, it seems right that he should be doubly careful to be wholly truthful in everything he says and writes.  

This paper sadly concludes that there are far too many holes and discrepancies and downright untruths in his story for him to be considered reliable in what he says about his 'past' life.  It is possible that all of the doubts can be assuaged, in which case, of course, we'd be delighted.  But until then, the suspicions remain.

It is worth noting that confirmation of some of these questions does not mean confirmation of everything.  For instance, his school friends may testify 'yes, he was keen on kung fu' but that doesn't make him a world champion.  Only when all of the questions have been clarified can one have confidence it is all true.

Dates     Concerns     General questions
 China - early years
How is it that he can't speak or write or read Chinese now, given that he was so proficient for so long?  
[For first hand evidence, see below - Notes on Conversation with Tony in person Sat 21 April 2012]

If his Chinese ability is not what it seems, then what of his king fu?
Why no mention of Cultural Revolution?
How come he can go back and forth to China over those years?  (why didn't he try and stay in the UK?  or China even, by the end, given that he was 12 and barely spoke English?)

Youth in UK Who are the friends and teachers he remembers?   Speaking to them would help verify Tony's life - as it must have been unusual to have a teenage boy with fluent Chinese, still learning English, who goes off to China for 2-3 months per year.  One or two teachers must be able to testify to their memories.
 Saudi stuffIt seems most unlikely that a hostile takeover by a US corporation would take place in Saudi Arabia in the early 1980s.  What really happened?

It seems most unlikely that a Saudi ambassador of London would move to Italy and then Cyprus  (as Tony confirmed in person on Sat 21 April 2012, and as his book describes).  What really happened? 
 See below for confirmation that the ambassador claim is untrue.  Thus from pp90-120 (time through Naples to Cyprus) must be fundamentally untrue.  

Also, since it was in Naples that he heard of Aiya, which caused him to change from cool kung fu master to violent thug - what really happened?

Since he can't have worked for the Saudi ambassador:
- was he ever in Naples?  
- did he ever have a relationship with Aiya?
- how did he end up in Cyprus?
- how did he end up in prison in Cyprus?
- if he went to prison in Cyprus for the crimes he tells us about, then what in his life story led him to commit them - because it can't have been working for the Saudi ambassador who got him to do all kinds of dodgy things?

Note:  Not only does the book rely on Tony working for an ambassador who moves and ends up in Cyprus, but also Tony Anthony confirmed to me in person that he did actually worked for that Ambassador  - asserting that he was not ambassador of three places at once, but moved from one to the other.  So there was no element of 'well, it wasn't really the ambassador, it was his number 2' or other such 'author's license' .... in person, Tony assured me he did - but the evidence is that he can't possibly have.

Cyprus jail             If the Saudi connection is untrue, what were the real reasons for his being in Cyprus in 1989?  
   

It seems clear the events leading up to his imprisonment in Cyprus (assuming that to be true), are fictitious:
1985-89 : it is highly improbable that he was the number one bodyguard to the Saudi ambassador to London, Italy and Cyprus.  Much of what is recounted cannot therefore be true.
Early 1980s : the account he gives in Saudi Arabia is also, we conclude, untrue, for reasons we show.
This leads to doubts as to his working for the (so called) IKFF - which raises questions about his role in any of the IKFF.
Even his time in China is to be questionned (see below), based on his complete lack of current knowledge of Chinese characters, including those for kungfu.



The Bible calls witnesses of Jesus Christ to be reliable, and to give up deceitful ways.

2 Corinthians 4:2 "We have repudiated shameful practices devised in secret; we do not employ cunning methods nor do we tamper with God’s word, but by an open declaration that reveals the truth, we recommend ourselves to everyone’s conscience as living in God’s sight,"

Whilst we acknowledge that every author will colour their work somewhat, deliberate exaggeration should be considered unhelpful, and falsehoods downright wrong.
If gospel ministers are not reliable, trustworthy and transparent, then why should people believe their message?

The Bible also teaches each of us that we are sinners, and none of us is innocent of sin - which means we are all able to exagerate and deceive, in a variety of ways.  The answer is to come to Christ in repentance and faith - in confessing our sin, in repentance (before God, and others, as appropriate), and receiving the full forgiveness of sins that Jesus has provided for.  This means, with reference to Tony, that if there are parts of his book which are untrue or fabrications, then he would do well to acknowledge them, and repent of them.  Equally, given the concern that some of the book is false, it would be helpful to identify those key areas where he has used 'writer's license' to amplify what actually happened.
As Tony holds on to Christ, we know him as our brother - which makes the repentance all the more important.

There is also a responsibility for the publishers to acknowledge their role in any dissemination of falsehoods.  Thousands - on some account hundreds of thousands - have paid for books which they thought were a true account of someone's life, but seem to be based on falsehoods.  (Let alone the potential libel implications).  It would seem wholly appropriate therefore for the publishers to do their utmost to ensure that all who have bought the book from them are told which parts were true, and which not.  There is a place for corporate repentance - which means not hiding from sin, or seeking to cover anything up;  bringing the truth into the open, and exposing the lies;  acknowledging fault where appropriate; and concerted actions to ensure it doesn't happen again.  It's what we would counsel individuals - all the more so Christian organisations.

In summary, here's what I am praying will happen with Tony, and all involved: 
i) true repentance - to acknowledge that lies are sin, and deceit has no place alongside the gospel  (whatever the motivations)
ii) restitution - the putting right of wrongs, as much as possible :  if I steal £5 from you, and you show I did, then my repentance must also be accompanied by restitution as far as possible .... ie I give you back the £5.
iii) reconciliation - the rebuilding of relationships.   If you catch me with your fiver, and I give it back, truly repentant, then you forgive me, and I accept that forgiveness .... we can hang out together again  (you may not leave your wallet lying around in my presence, just in case - but you will still treat me as a forgiven brother)

I say all involved, because it seems to me that a great number of faithful Christians have been duped by Tony.  Many will never have suspected a thing;  others may have suspected but brushed it away.  Either way, whether unwittingly or witthingly, people have been duped.  But that doesn't mean we shouldn't be bothered.  Just as those who are crying out for the truth and justice need to be full of the love of God, so others need to see the work of the Spirit of truth.  Think how often Jesus began his sayings with:  'I tell you the truth'.  Truth matters.

In 1993, the theologian David Wells published a book called "No Place for truth: Or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology?".  Here's some of what he says: 
"A culture for whom God is no longer present believes everything" (p9).   
The context is one of believing any kind of doctrine - so he expresses amazement at the thought that in a world where we have more and more technology, increasing numbers of people should believe in astrology.  But the same can be said for people's testimonies!  Why do we need someone to be a reformed gangster or converted kung fu champion to believe the gospel message they present?

Later he says, whilst contrasting the ways of a town called Wenham years ago (19th century) with modern people:
"There is nothing to give height or depth or perspective to anything they experience. They know more, but they are not necessarily wiser. They believe less, but they are not more substantial. They are attuned to experience and to appearances, not to thought and character". (p52)
The trouble with our world - indeed so often reflected in our church today - is that we have lost the meaning of the word character.  In days gone by, someone who consistently lied, who told a web of fabricated and twisted stories, would be laughed at and never given the time of day.  They'd be called a fraud and people would mean it.  You wouldn't lend them anything.  Yet today, it seems that it is possible to lead many astray with wild tales of world championships and travel in China - and people believe it ... so much so they give money to invite the person to come and speak, to translate the books into more languages, to grow an organisation based on that person's character.



Early childhood

Since Tony was in his early 20s by 1985, he must have been born around 1962-4.  This means he went to China at the age of four, around 1966-68.
This was the height of the cultural revolution, where China was in utter turmoil, and it was anyone's guess who would survive the next purge.
Foreigners had next to no place in the country (Christians had been expelled in 1950)
Yet there is no mention of any of this turmoil, in the slightest.  This is remarkably odd.  (But of course does not mean it's not true).   
[In context, it would be like living in East Asia in the early 2000s, and not mentioning the tsunami;  or in Ethiopia in the 1980s and not mentioning the famine.]

It's unusual also that the plane trip is described so briefly.  There's no mention of transit, of customs, of immigration. It's as if he is describing air travel in the 1960s as if it were the 1990s or beyond.   There were not the direct flights we have now, and planes had less of a range.   (But of course does not mean this isn't true).

We note that Tony doesn't comment also on how he learns the language.  On p27 (age 6) he can understand what the boys from Shanghai are saying, even though they are laughing at him for not speaking their language properly  (they speak Mandarin in Shanghai, yet he is speaking Cantonese).  By age 8 (p35) he is studying "calligraphy, languages, history", and by age 10 (p43) he is writing well  (he says he can write from "early morning until late in the evening").  By the time he is returning to the UK age 12 (p45), he struggled to speak and understand English, as Cantonese had quickly become his first language. He tells us that every year he returns to China to the age of 17 (p51), at which point he can still read the Chinese characters and is still speaking Chinese (Cantonese, presumably - though he goes to Shanghai) fluently.  Even in prison in Cyprus, he is still 'writing calligraphy nameplates'  (p133).

Tony therefore claims that he had eight years living in China, and five more returning for months at a time, during which time he was treated by a fierce grandfather, who not only drilled into him world-class kung fu, but also the Chinese language.  These are explicit claims in his book.  If his grandfather was half as harsh on him learning the Chinese writing as he was in kung fu (and there's little reason to assume he would be), then Tony will have been thoroughly fluent.  He certainly gives that impression by the age of ten, writing all day  (with "a fine set of brass quills").

On Saturday 20th April 2012, Tony was presented by me, in person, with two sentences in Chinese.  He couldn't read any of it.  He claimed to be able to make out some characters, but was unable to identify any specifically.  This is astounding.  More comment can be found below, but this must raise serious questions about Tony's time in China.   (see notes on conversation with Tony Anthony ... below)

If Tony didn't learn Chinese as he claims in his book - then did he really learn kung fu?
How is it that Tony can't identify the Chinese characters for kung fu, when the whole raison-d'etre of him being in China from the age of four was to continue the family tradition of king fu?  When he went to all the competitions, is it not likely that the phrase kung fu would have been somewhere?   It is like David Beckham not knowing what a football looks like.

This raises huge questions. Of course there may be a reasonable answer.  
- it is surely unrealistic to think that you can forget such characters over the years.  These were pictures etched on to his mind, his character, his being, for the fifteen most formative years of his life.  He can remember all the details about conversations in China (in Chinese, presumably) - but not the words themselves.

This opens up more questions:  if the grandfather didn't really teach him Chinese properly, then could it be the grandfather didn't teach him kung fu to such a high standard?  It is surely easier to become proficient in Chinese than it is to become a world champion kung fu expert  (there are more of the former than the latter, after all).  So Tony's claim to be a grand-father trained world champion almost requires him to have excellent Chinese.  Which he clearly has no more.

If his kung fu credentials are open to question, then one has to ask what he actually means by being a 'world champion'.
And if this is open to question, then what kind of personal protection was Tony involved in?


Who is the International Kung Fu Federation (based in Geneva)?

There doesn't seem to be an International Kung Fu Federation in Geneva at the moment.  
There is one - in Azerbaijan.  http://www.internationalkungfu.com/
They have world championships.
We have tried to contact them by email, without any response just yet.  
They have a Skype number, so it would be useful to call them and ask:
- who were the world champions in the 1980s

If it is not this one, then of course the onus is on Tony to specify exactly who was the sponsoring body.  If they had world championships in the 1980s when they gave £10,000 of prize money (which Tony refers to), then presumably they will be a major player - or they will have been.. People will remember them, and there will be a list of world champions.  £10,000 in those days - assuming paid in US dollars - would be worth about £25-50,000 today : http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_value_of_a_dollar_in_1980_compared_to_2008   This is no small amount - especially since sports prizes were much lower in those days.  (At least generally).   

Given that Tony says he competed once in Thailand and twice in Hong Kong (p.65), he is indicating that this was a serious world body.


Tony's Testimony online

Tony claims to have been the world champion for three years in a row "from 1987 to 1989".  See: http://vimeo.com/31483225 - at 8 mins 50seconds
He says that after this, he began to work for the IKFF after becoming a world champion - and that's when he became a bodyguard.
Problem:  this means that after becoming world champion for the third time, he went back in time by several years and started to work for the Saudi ambassador.  For Tony Anthony to be telling the truth, therefore, he needs to be able to travel like Dr Who!


Saudi story - "hostile takeover" 

Tony's remarkable escape from Riyadh revolves around his working for an American businessman, who had to go to Saudi to resolve a dispute over a hostile takeover he had led (leaving some Saudis so unhappy it made it dangerous to go to Saudi).

They flew to Riyadh in a private jet from the US, stopping off in London and Bahrain for refuelling.
This is most unlikely: just look at the map.  Bahrain is a detour.

They stayed in "Le Meridian" hotel in Riyadh (in the mid 1980s).
This is most unlikely.  Apart from the false spelling, the hotel wasn't built until 2006.(  http://ehotelier.com/hospitality-news/item.php?id=A3862_0_11_0_M   http://www.asiatraveltips.com/news05/211-Hotels.shtml  )

That said, the premise for the trip is clearly false:
Hostile takeovers began to take place in the 1970s and 1980s, yet they were still rare in London and New York.
The Saudi stockmarket was not in existence in the early 1980s:  http://www.marketswiki.com/mwiki/Saudi_Stock_Exchange


Working for the Saudi Ambassador to London, Italy and Cyprus: 1985 - Christmas 1989

Much depends on the truthfulness of this account.  Tony says he worked for the ambassador from 1985 until 1988/89, and that the ambassador was ambassador to London, Italy and Cyprus.  He had a home in Naples, where Tony rescued a Romanian prostitute Rosana, and a home in Cyprus, where Tony ended up being imprisoned (but also acted as the ambassador's "thug", collecting money/debts from arms dealers).

A number of points are highly questionable, the most serious being the claim the ambassador was one to three places.

In 1985 Britain signed the largest military order in our history with Saudi Arabia. He would not have moved from London, to Naples and ending up in Cyprus.  It's not football where stars end up in the lower leagues - London is the peak of your career.

The Saudi embassy has confirmed (email of 20 April 2012) that the current (2012) Saudi ambassador to London was previously ambassador to Italy and Malta.  (Not Cyprus, and not at the same time!)

It is also amazing that a Saudi ambassador, presumably a member of their Royal family, should employ a UK citizen, who is not a Muslim, as the head of security.  And that this non-Muslim should be taken into the ambassador's confidence such that he should become a debt collector (on his own).   

So Tony surely didn't work for the Saudi ambassador who moved on to Naples and Cyprus.  In which case, how much of his story is true - from bodyguarding, to Rosanna in Naples, to his time in Cyprus.  If he did end up in prison in Cyprus, then what led him there - as it can't have been the Saudi ambassador?

On Sat 21 April 2012, the author met Tony in person, and asked him about his work for the Saudi ambassador.  He explained that the ambassador wasn't the ambassador to these three places at the same time, but that he was ambassador in each of these three places separately - one after the other.  Whilst I'm not sure that's how the book reads, he blamed it on a lack of editor for the book.  (He blamed a number of other errors and discrepancies on the lack of editor for the book:  'we didn't even have an editor' was his phrase. (I'm interested to know what the publishers think, and why it's been translated into so many languages if it is so poorly edited, and Tony is aware of the discrepancies.)
 The reader can decide whether it is really likely that a Saudi ambassador would move 'down' the pecking order from London, then Italy, then Cyprus.  (Was he that bad an ambassador?)


Prison in Cyprus
Michael Wright is clearly a key figure here.  
Whilst it will be hard to verify many of the day to day incidences, it is assumed that the conversations with Michael, and the activities he is involved in, are true  (since he and the other missionaries and indeed church have had plenty of time to challenge these).




Notes on a conversation with Tony in person on Saturday 21 April 2012
I met Tony on Saturday at a Passion conference in Brighton.  
He was aware that I had some questions to ask (John Lawson introduced me).

I began by saying thank you to Tony for his ministry, as I feel his message that morning was quite right.  As an Anglican, I am aware that many churches have lost the centrality of preaching Jesus Christ.  Tony's message was straight forward:  the priority of the church must be to preach Christ.  Amen to that.
I also said I felt genuine love for him for his boldness, and for what God has done in his life.  That is wholly genuine.
I raised the point that George Osborne made in the second talk, about the danger of mixing falsehoods with sufficient truth to make it credible (a point by J O Saunders).  
I pointed out that was why Christians must be above reproach, transparent, and whiter than white.

I began by picking up something Tony said in his talk: that 35,000 people die of Aids "every week" (his quote).  I pointed out that this meant that 1.6m die per year.  Yet the death rate in South Africa is 17 per 1,000, which of a population of 50 million, means 850,000 die in total per year. That means his statistic is misleading.  He said he was just making the point that lots of people die of Aids, but our priority should be to preach Christ.  I agreed with the priority, but said I felt the use of the statistics was misleading.  He then said he got them from a World Missions book.  To be fair, he said that it would be better to get in touch after the conference, and not bombard him on a busy and tiring day  (point taken. I only raised it though so as to show my concern for not sitting loose to the truth).

I then raised the issue of the Saudi ambassador - asking whether he really worked for him in those three places at the same time.  He insisted he did work for him, but that the Saudi ambassador was first in London, then Italy, then Cyprus.  That explains the movements.  This is crucial.  Because Tony has confirmed to me that he definitely did work for the ambassador.  I consider that his integrity now rests on that..There was not hint of saying 'actually it was another person but I used writers' license'.  He insisted the man was moving jobs, and Tony followed.

I remain highly sceptical that Tony worked for said ambassador.  I doubt very much that the ambassador should move from London to Italy then to Cyprus  (Tony suggested he was coming to the end of his career).  That is not done in diplomatic circles. You move up - London would be your last posting.  It's the opposite of football.  To suggest he would have moved down - it beggars belief.  That said, I have yet to find out the names of the Saudi ambassadors to London, Italy and Cyprus in that period:  they will be public knowledge, so this is verifiable.

The concern remains:  if Tony didn't work for that ambassador, then why did he lie to me today?  Why did he deceive me, and insist that he did?  
(Of course, if he did, then Tony is telling the truth, and I will be thankful for that.  I have shown reasons why I find this dubious)

Tony warned me against people on the internet - denying, for instance, that he is the 'Tony Antoni' who has a different birth date from him, of Greek parents, etc.  He simply said that wasn't him.  Fine.  None of my questions were about that.

I then showed Tony two sentences in Chinese which my brother had written for me.  I asked Tony whether he could read it.  He said he could make out some of the characters.  On pressing him, he said he could only make up some parts of the characters - and then explained to me that characters are often made up of a combination of characters. (which I knew!).  He talked to me about the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese (which I also knew).  But folded the sheet up and put it away.  I returned to the sheet, and asked if he could spot any of them characters.  He couldn't.  He explained that he'd been beaten as a child and struggled to learn Chinese.  I pointed out that in his book he talks of learning calligraphy with his grandfather, and he shows he can both speak it and read it.  He said he left when 12, but I reminded him he went back every summer until 17.  He said his wife taught reading and writing to school children, and many of them can't do it very well.  We returned to the sheet.  It turned out that Tony couldn't spot even half characters (ie one element of a character, which may have two or three in it).  Not even one part.  I pressed him and he couldn't show me any.

The shock for me is that the phrase my brother wrote said:  

“We have heard that your grandfather’s kungfu was second to none. We are looking forward to seeing how your skill is.”

This phrase contains the Chinese characters for kungfu.  Yet Tony says he couldn't spot any - not even parts.
This has to raise fundamental questions. 
I was taught German when I was 13 to 16, but can still remember some words.
Tony says he lived in China from 4 to 12, went back every year for another 5 years, was a world champion in Kung Fu, he was even writing calligraphy in prison in Cyprus, he says (now an adult) .... but can't recognize the Chinese characters for King Fu. 
That is very surprising.

We left it that I would write to Tony with any concerns, and he would get back to me on them.

I concluded, as I walked away, that my love for Tony remains, and I genuinely have compassion for him.  But as a minister of the gospel, I am deeply concerned that he sits loose to the truth. None of us can ever be whiter than white.  We will all exaggerate and get things wrong at times.  I would not seek to apply the standard of perfection to Tony.  But my meeting did not encourage me, or give me confidence in his reliability.

He said at the end of the day, if people didn't want to believe him, that's fine.  But I'm not so sure it's that simple.  He made the point that they weren't being paid for today, that he didn't have a house in his name - that it wasn't for money he was doing this.  (I applaud his sacrifice, genuinely).  But again, that's not the point.  A gospel minister needs to be truthful - and transparently so.  I would urge those overseeing Tony's ministry to investigate his claims as fully as possible, and ensure that Tony is a stickler for transparent truth.


Questions asked of Authentic Media by email : Wed 25 April 2012   [Becky.Fawcett@authenticmedia.co.uk]

 1.       Re: early years

a.       How much did you check of Tony’s story for his early years?

b.      Did you check his Chinese writing? 

c.       What explanation was given for his lack of Chinese now?

d.      Did Tony speak of life in China during the Cultural Revolution? 

                                                               i.      If so, why was this excluded from the book (given the success of books like 'Wild Swans' you would have thought it would increase the appeal). 

                                                             ii.      If not, then did that not strike someone as a little odd?

 

2.       Re: teenage

a.       How much of the details of Tony's life from return from China to 'international bodyguard' was verified? 

b.      Do you know the real name of his school and teachers?

c.       Did you speak to anyone from Tony’s school about this boy with poor English and world champion kung fu abilities?

 

3.       Re: kung fu champion

a.       Did you see any evidence of championships won, and how much of this did you verify?

b.      How much context setting did you do?  (for instance, which kung fun experts did you speak to?)

 

4.       Re: Saudi experience

a.       How much of the 1980s accounts did you check?

b.      Did you consider it likely that there would be a hostile take over in a country whose stock market was barely open, and certainly closed to foreigners?

c.       Was there an explanation given for the Saudi ambassador being demoted from London to Italy, and then down to Cyprus?

d.      Did you establish the real name of the American businessman, and the Saudi ambassador?  How much evidence was provided to verify these accounts?

 

5.       Re: Michael Wright / Cyprus

a.       Did you speak with Michael about meeting Tony in Cyprus, and what did he tell you?

 

6.       Re: General observations

a.       Where the names and events have been changed (for safety reasons or otherwise), did Tony tell you the real names and events?  If so, what did you do to verify the truth of these?

b.      In general, what information were you able to verify about Tony's life before he went to prison in Cyprus?

 

Response Given by Malcolm Down <malcolm.down@authenticmedia.co.uk> on Friday 4th April 2012

Dear Carl

Many thanks for your email.

It is not our policy to answer the specific questions you raise although what I can tell you is that Tony signed a legal and binding contract verifying the validity of his story and Authentic sought references from several people involved in various stages of his life and were satisfied with the responses they gave.

I will however pass your concerns on to Tony.

Warm regards

Malcolm Down

Publishing Manager

Authentic Media


Reply to Malcolm Down on Friday 18th May 2012: 

Dear Malcolm

Thank you for your reply. I’m very surprised that my questions – and evidence – do not raise concerns at Authentic, and that you shouldn’t at least seek to reassure me as to the truth of Tony’s claims (and not just that he has signed a document saying he is testimony is truthful).  I am also surprised that your policy is not to assure customers that what you publish is truthful, and where there is doubt, to ensure that this is assuaged.

 Consider the implications if his China experience is not what he claims (as many would conclude, given his lack of Chinese and the other discrepancies):  Authentic will have taken money from huge numbers of customers for something which is untrue. 

I would hope a Christian publisher would seek either to assure people as to the veracity of the claims in the book, or take immediate steps to rectify the problem.

 Yours sincerely

Carl

 From: Malcolm Down [mailto:malcolm.down@authenticmedia.co.uk]

Sent: 18 May 2012 15:59
To: Carl Chambers
Subject: RE: Taming the Tiger - Tony Anthony

 Dear Carl

 Taming the Tiger was ghost written by Angela Little following extensive and often emotionally exhausting interviews with Tony where he relayed his life story. Angela then checked as many details as were humanly possible and in addition Authentic took up personal references, as I previously mentioned, including one from Michael Wright.

 Overall we were satisfied that there was enough evidence to suggest that his story is true and to date, 8 years after the original publication, no one has actually provided Authentic with any substantive evidence refuting the claims he makes.  

 Should any such evidence be presented we will of course take whatever action is necessary but in the meantime we are satisfied that enough checks were made to validate his testimony.

 Warm regards

 Malcolm

 

From: Carl Chambers [mailto:chambers.carl@gmail.com]
Sent: 18 May 2012 16:21

To: Malcolm Down
Subject: RE: Taming the Tiger - Tony Anthony

Thank you Malcolm

In brief:

-          Tony doesn’t speak Chinese, and can’t read it.  That was evident to me a few weeks ago.  Not even the word ‘King fu’ or ‘grand father’ – which were his life for so many years.  Either he has completely forgotten it, or he never knew it.

-          There were no hostile takeovers in Saudi Arabia in the early 1980s.  See below for links

-          The Saudi ambassador to London in 1985 did not then go on to Rome and then end up in Cyprus.  You can check with the Saudi embassy.  (this is supposition, not ‘proof’.  I am not yet able to give you times and dates. I do have communication from the Saudi embassy which confirms the current ambassador to London was previously in Rome and Malta – which shows you the way ambassadors go: they always go up. London in 1985 was a HUGE posting for the Saudis – think Al-Yamanah.  No one in diplomat circles ends up in pocket sized dependencies having been in London.  As I say, not written proof – but extremely weighty as circumstantial evidence)

These three points ought to be substantive enough surely to suggest further investigation, and your own corroboration.  Why not you phone up the Saudi embassy, and ask them whether either of their elements are true?  You can establish that easily enough, and independently.  You will also know real names (which presumably were given to Angela), so can check those out. 

 If even the Saudi elements are untrue, then the question remains:  how did Tony end up in Cyprus, and why?  Because a whole chunk of the book would be untrue. 

 I am very conscious that this may become a very big headache.  But I am also clear that Authentic has the opportunity to establish categorically for itself the truth – or, of its own volition, establish the errors.   

 As a minister of a church, I’m too busy to look into this properly.  But I’ve been amazed at the little I have put together.  In due course, I will establish with references the names and dates for Saudi ambassadors in London, Rome and Cyprus during the 1980s.   

 As a minister also, I should add that just because someone gives emotionally exhausting interviews does not mean they’re telling the truth.  The stories Tony tells are little different from some I’ve heard in pastoral ministry from unbelievers trying to impress.

 I am on your side, Malcolm.  My concern is for the integrity of the gospel – and our gospel witness.  Gospel ministers need therefore to be transparently truthful – and I’m sorry to say that’s not what I’m finding looking into Tony (as I have explained).  The weight of his need to be transparently truthful is surely all the higher given that he has been convicted by our own government of perverting the cause of justice – having been a Christian for a decade.  He may well be telling the truth – in which case, there must be clear and public explanations for the discrepancies.

 With best wishes

Carl

Saudi story - "hostile takeover" 

Tony's remarkable escape from Riyadh revolves around his working for an American businessman, who had to go to Saudi to resolve a dispute over a hostile takeover he had led (leaving some Saudis so unhappy it made it dangerous to go to Saudi).

They flew to Riyadh in a private jet from the US, stopping off in London and Bahrain for refuelling.

This is most unlikely: just look at the map.  Bahrain is a detour.

They stayed in "Le Meridian" hotel in Riyadh (in the mid 1980s).

This is most unlikely.  Apart from the false spelling, the hotel wasn't built until 2006.(  http://ehotelier.com/hospitality-news/item.php?id=A3862_0_11_0_M   http://www.asiatraveltips.com/news05/211-Hotels.shtml  )

That said, the premise for the trip is clearly false:

Hostile takeovers began to take place in the 1970s and 1980s, yet they were still rare in London and New York.

The Saudi stockmarket was not in existence in the early 1980s:  http://www.marketswiki.com/mwiki/Saudi_Stock_Exchange

The Saudi stockmarket only opened to foreigners in 2011:  http://riyadhciti.com/2011/10/saudi-boursestock-exchange-to-open-to-foreigners-shortly-beydoun/


 REPLY On 18 May 2012 16:35, Malcolm Down <malcolm.down@authenticmedia.co.uk> wrote:

Dear Carl

 Thanks for your email. I have written to Angela for her feedback and will get back to you in due course.

 Warm regards

 Malcolm

 

NEW EMAIL: Thurs 24 May 2012

Dear Malcolm

I have managed to find evidence which exposes a massive hole in Tony Anthony's story.  This is firm evidence, from The Times newspaper.  It opens up a huge amount of questions about key parts of Tony's book.

 As I have argued before, the Saudi ambassador to London in 1985 would have been at the height of his career.  He would not have gone on to Naples, and ended up in Cyprus.

 The Times newspaper gives an obituary for said ambassador, describing his role in London from 1980-1992 as the 'pinnacle' of his career.

 This means that Tony's story about working for him in London, Naples and Cyprus can not possibly be true.  Nor can any of the events in Naples  (where I seem to remember he takes the news that Aiya is killed - which is used as the reason for Tony changing from a cool kung fu champion to vicious criminal).  So what part is true about Aiya?  And how did Tony end up in Cyprus, where we know he was imprisoned?

 Thirty pages of his book (pp90-120 in my copy) must therefore be primarily fiction  (although he may say some elements of truth are there, the core foundation - who he worked for and how he travelled - is exposed as untrue)

 I look forward to your comments in due course.

 You will, of course, understand why suspicions now about the rest of the book are heightened, if key sections are so transparently untrue.

 Yours sincerely

Carl 

 

Published at 12:00AM, August 16 2007

Astute and cultivated Saudi Ambassador to London in the 1980s

As Saudi Ambassador in London during the 1980s and early 1990s, Sheikh Nasser Almanqour organised the successful visit of King Khaled to the UK. It was the pinnacle of a diplomatic career which had already taken him as Ambassador to Japan, Sweden, and Spain, and during which he had acquired a reputation as an astute and subtle diplomat.

Nasser Hamad Almanqour was born in Sudeir, Saudi Arabia, in 1930, and studied in Mecca before graduating from the University of Cairo with honours in literature. He began his career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but was quickly drafted into the Government’s Education Department, and became director-general of Education in 1956. He was appointed director of the University of Riyadh in 1958, and remained passionate for the rest of his life about extending education in Saudi Arabia to both men and women.

After eight years in senior ministerial positions in the departments of Education and Labour and Social Affairs, and a period as Minister of State for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Sheikh Nasser began his diplomatic career in 1964 as Saudi Ambassador to Japan, and nonresident Ambassador to Taiwan and South Korea. From there he was posted in 1968 to Sweden, where he also acted as nonresident Ambassador to Denmark and Norway, and on to Madrid in 1973. He remained in Spain for seven years, overseeing Saudi relations with the dictatorship of General Franco, and then with the new democratic Government under King Juan Carlos.

Sheikh Nasser came to London as Ambassador in 1980, and two years later was also accredited as Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland. He returned to Riyadh in 1992.

His duties in London included overseeing the affairs of the Libyan Embassy after the breaking of diplomatic relations between London and Tripoli following the fatal shooting of WPC Yvonne Fletcher. He was dean of Arab ambassadors in London.

Among his many honours were the Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, the Saudi Order of HM King Abdulaziz, the Grand Order of the Brilliant Star of Taiwan, and the Spanish Order of the Grand Cross of Isabella La Cat?lica and the Grand Cross of Civil Merit.

Sheikh Nasser was a dedicated scholar and he took a leading role in social and cultural affairs. He amassed a huge library of Arabic literature which accompanied him on his postings. He is survived by his widow Sawsan, two sons, and one daughter.

Sheikh Nasser Almanqour, Saudi Ambassador to the UK, 1980-92, was born on November 30, 1930. He died on July 24, 2007, aged 76




General observations and questions from the book:  (note form)
p.27 : age 6:  is accosted by the pond, by boys laughing cos he doesn't speak their language (yet he understands them).  Not also they are from Shanghai (Mandarin).

Re: flying to China. No mention is made of transfers, or borders, or customs. Indeed, air travel is spoken of as if it was as easy as the 1990s, which it was not in the 1960s / 1970s.
No mention is made of the Cultural Revolution at all.

p. 28 'everyone knew they would never receive the same level of training as me'   
p.38 Tony has 'especially heightened extra sensory perceptions'
p35. studied calligraphy, language, history (age 8)
p43: is writing as well (age 10)
p.44 :  describes life in Hong Kong at 'the end of the 1970s'
p.45.   Age 12, he is sent back to the UK. Cantonese not English is his language. He had made several trips home during 8 years in China, sometimes staying months at a time.  
[yet no explanation is given as to why he didn't ask to stay home in the UK, or his feelings, or what his parents said;  even where the money came from to make all these flights]

p.48 what is the real name of 'Steve Jenkins'.  where was his school?  what teachers can he remember?   (we all remember teachers from our teenage, and teachers remember us, generally;  certainly it is likely that teachers will have remembered a boy who was mad keen on kung fu, who spent several months a year in China, who was fluent in Cantonese, and who was struggling with English).

p.50 IKFF
Who is the Mr Chang who ran the IKFF branch in Swiss Cottage?  (That Tony tells us he was much better than).

Kingsley, from Jamaica, Tony's first real friend

Who is Mr Sizer, who taught RE?

p51. every year he returned to China for 2-3 months until 17.
Age 17, he can still read characters
p53 he is clearly still speaking Chinese fluently

p62 travels to Pakistan   (I wonder if he has kept his old passport)
p64 still working with Mr Chang (age 17)
p65 £10,000 prize money in 1984.  Once Thailand, twice Hong Kong  Li Chang Po from Xi'an, twice his opponent
[what weight? what age group?]

p66 main training warehouse in rue de la Confederation, Geneva
p71 early 20s, now a guard  (Diane)
p72 "next few years I rose up the ranks"
p73 hostile takeoever in Suadi in early 80s.  William Blank (obviously pseudonym) investor in Manhatten buildings.  'point man' .  Fahali brothers.

p74.  Sandra Zaple - always the point of contact in IKFF.
But he never met her in person.  
[This is strange, given that he seemed to spend so much time in Geneva training.  How is it that you don't meet the person you are in so much contact with - or go out of your way to try and say hi when you can, given the crucial relationship you have with them?   The author used to work with South Africans in the last 1980s / early 1990s, and I would always make a point of chatting to the telephone receptionists when I was in the factory near Durban - because that's what you do.]

Also amazing:  with 7 days to go before flying to Saudi, why use the mail to get a photo to the US.  Surely such a high powered organisation would fax a photo, or use a courier company?   You wouldn't rely on the postal service!

p77 Le Meridien Riyadh
p75 refuelling for private jet in UK and Bahrain - to Riyadh!
p90 Amin Fahed, Saudi ambassador to UK, Italy and Cyprus.
(p89/90 "firsthand man" to him)

p.91 "in the summer of 1985 I took a couple of weeks' leave from Amin's service"

p94 'for next 3 years' Aiya
p95 basic Swedish (also Arabic);  not legal to use marshall arts in Sweden
p96 Aiya killed.  Tony takes news in Naples.  (ie ambassador has already left London, and is now posted in Italy)

p97 diplomatic secure status
p102 new base in Lefkosia

p103 loses it in bar in Cyprus; glass in face of soldier    (amazing for someone who was meant to have had so much previous control over life from young age.  But anger and sadness can change us)

p104 Tony accompanies Amin to gambling table  (a non Muslim with an ambassador from one of the most strict countries in the world )  ;  he gets someone away from Amin in the casino   (what was the casino doing letting someone Amin didn't like in?  would such a high roller really go to a casino where he doubted their ability to vet guests?)

p105 notorious arms dealer.  Staff have left for night!!  (now Tony is a bounty hunter)
he returns to house
(still no guards!!! even after Tony had been and threatened him)
Tony does what asked of him - beats him up, and takes money

p106 Amin owed large amount of money by African - so it is Tony who beats him up and takes his money  (that of course he has just lying around!).

p107 needs £30k operation for dad, in Switzerland
p108 flies parents to Cyprus to collect money, stayed in his apartment

p111 diplomatic immunity counts for nothing. Tony only contacts British embassy (why not Saudi?).
p113 incredible police beating   ('I knew exactly where the bullet was')

p115 escape from custody;  goes back to flat  (!!)

p116 parents abandon him   (there is absolutely no reason why this has happened, no further explanation as to what happened - this is a complete mystery)

p119 admitted to robberies and more. 
p121 Christmas Eve 1989 off to prison.


p126 Andy from Halifax squaddie 2 yrs for bouncing cheque
p129 Ian Davidson PLO South Shields arrested 1985   [external reference, assuming this is the same guy:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/cyprus-frees-british-killer-1507953.html]

p132 Nikos Samson - terrorist COKA
p133 writing calligraphy 
p137 meets Michael Wright in prison
p139 Richard Knox missionary

p170 Triads to come after him, hired by family
p171 aroma of Christ = integrity
p173 2.5 yrs of 3 yr sentence = summer 1992

p179 John & Carolyn Nunn, New Malden Baptist
with Anna (2) and Joshua

p181 11 Nov 1992 release
p182 false passports in Geneva  (probably still now!)

p191 Alan and Irene Kirkham
p192 Joe McDonald
Mike Livingstone
'Oak Room' gospel hall in Clapham Junction

p196 almost hit Sarah's dad when he came in early for cup of tea
p235 Mars Bars to fellow prisoners before he leaves
p238 broken for Jesus



About the author of this site
My name is Carl Chambers. I'm an Anglican clergyman in Brighton.  
I read the book in early April 2012, after some Christians I trust told me they had concerns.  
As I read it, I became more and more concerned myself.
To me, it does matter whether a gospel minister is 'above reproach' and reliable.  Our gospel witness is affected, as is that of the rest of the church.
I appreciate writers will change names and some details.  But there is a difference between that, and either exaggeration or falsehoods. 
I would love it if the apparent discrepancies could be resolved - hence these questions.
This site is where I keep my notes in order to be efficient (I have a day job and frankly have plenty more to do with my time.)
You will see it is not presented as an essay would be, hence the many repetitions.  That's just because I sometimes sit down and type up thoughts and questions, and don't have the time to go back and edit this so it's all presentable.



Links on the web about Tony Anthony / Taming the Tiger

This link has a number of reviews which contain some of the same questions this page has;  they also have other issues they raise. 


Evidence that the Saudi Ambassador claim is untrue
[from The Times online, accessed Thurs 24 May 2012]  http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/obituaries/article2080022.ece

Published at 12:00AM, August 16 2007

Astute and cultivated Saudi Ambassador to London in the 1980s

As Saudi Ambassador in London during the 1980s and early 1990s, Sheikh Nasser Almanqour organised the successful visit of King Khaled to the UK. It was the pinnacle of a diplomatic career which had already taken him as Ambassador to Japan, Sweden, and Spain, and during which he had acquired a reputation as an astute and subtle diplomat.

Nasser Hamad Almanqour was born in Sudeir, Saudi Arabia, in 1930, and studied in Mecca before graduating from the University of Cairo with honours in literature. He began his career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but was quickly drafted into the Government’s Education Department, and became director-general of Education in 1956. He was appointed director of the University of Riyadh in 1958, and remained passionate for the rest of his life about extending education in Saudi Arabia to both men and women.

After eight years in senior ministerial positions in the departments of Education and Labour and Social Affairs, and a period as Minister of State for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Sheikh Nasser began his diplomatic career in 1964 as Saudi Ambassador to Japan, and nonresident Ambassador to Taiwan and South Korea. From there he was posted in 1968 to Sweden, where he also acted as nonresident Ambassador to Denmark and Norway, and on to Madrid in 1973. He remained in Spain for seven years, overseeing Saudi relations with the dictatorship of General Franco, and then with the new democratic Government under King Juan Carlos.

Sheikh Nasser came to London as Ambassador in 1980, and two years later was also accredited as Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland. He returned to Riyadh in 1992.

His duties in London included overseeing the affairs of the Libyan Embassy after the breaking of diplomatic relations between London and Tripoli following the fatal shooting of WPC Yvonne Fletcher. He was dean of Arab ambassadors in London.

Among his many honours were the Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, the Saudi Order of HM King Abdulaziz, the Grand Order of the Brilliant Star of Taiwan, and the Spanish Order of the Grand Cross of Isabella La Cat?lica and the Grand Cross of Civil Merit.

Sheikh Nasser was a dedicated scholar and he took a leading role in social and cultural affairs. He amassed a huge library of Arabic literature which accompanied him on his postings. He is survived by his widow Sawsan, two sons, and one daughter.

Sheikh Nasser Almanqour, Saudi Ambassador to the UK, 1980-92, was born on November 30, 1930. He died on July 24, 2007, aged 76