Publicly cancelling the shows clinched the deal, claims the head of InvestHK Harbour Fest organisers yesterday declared victory in their battles with the management of the Rolling Stones, claiming that last Friday's cancellation of the shows actually sealed the deal to have them perform next month. Mike Rowse, director-general of InvestHK - the government's investment promotional arm in charge of bankrolling Harbour Fest - spoke of the difficulties in dealing with the management of the Stones. But he insisted things had ultimately gone according to plan. 'The consequences of our Friday decision, and also the Saturday events in Legco, had a marked effect, shall we say, in concentrating minds at the other end. I think they took their eye off the ball.' Mr Rowse was referring partly to his appearance before Legco, where he told lawmakers the Stones deal had fallen through because 'these things happen in the entertainment industry'. He faced the media yesterday a day after the November 7 and 9 Stones shows were finally confirmed, following weeks of controversy. He was joined by James Thompson, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce, which is organising Harbour Fest's three weeks of concerts. Mr Thompson added: 'Frankly we didn't think they were treating us with any respect, nor did we think they were treating Hong Kong with any respect - not the Rolling Stones but their management team.' InvestHK has pledged to pay up to $100 million to cover Harbour Fest's losses. The two men put down the apparent confusion surrounding the Stones concerts to dealing with the band's many layers of lawyers and management. During the second half of August, AmCham and the Stones 'reached a broad understanding' that the band would come to Hong Kong in November, Mr Rowse said. In September, the two sides hammered out the contract details, making sure every request was met. On October 2, AmCham signed the contract and sent it to the Stones' management. As is usual in such agreements, a deposit of half the fee was sent a day or two before the signing, Mr Rowse said, although he refused to say what the fee was. But by October 8 the band had still not signed. A conference call with the band's agents and AmCham organisers was held, in which Mr Rowse said confirmation was needed at least four weeks before the concerts. The next night, with the contract still unsigned, the organisers withdrew their offer. The delays seemed to stem from the band's inability to line up other concerts on the mainland, Mr Rowse said, adding: 'In other words, there was no problem with the Hong Kong contract itself.' Yet the festival organisers received notification on Tuesday night, four days after the offer was apparently withdrawn, that the contracts would be signed. The signed contracts arrived yesterday morning. Legislators vowed to investigate the confusion surrounding the concerts, accusing officials of 'misleading' Legco. Ambrose Lau Hon-chuen, chairman of the Hong Kong Progressive Alliance and of Legco's financial affairs panel, said he had written to Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen demanding an explanation. 'This is a serious matter but they are treating it as kids' games ... This is public money. How could they mislead us like that?' Mr Lau asked. Mr Lau and Emily Lau Wai-hing, of The Frontier, called for the Audit Commission to probe the handling of the affair and the $1 billion programme to relaunch Hong Kong in the wake of Sars.