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La Condamine, Monaco. Photo: Anandkumar N via Flickr (CC BY-NC).
La Condamine, Monaco. Photo: Anandkumar N via Flickr (CC BY-NC).
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It's the tax havens that own the politicians!

Donnachadh McCarthy

6th April 2016

Never mind Cameron's mealy mouthed denials that he or his family benefit from tax havens, writes Donnachadh McCarthy. The real problem is systemic: Britain's entire political establishment has long been owned by tax haven wealth. Finally a senior politician, Jeremy Corbyn, has the courage to stand up to the unaccountable super-rich.

For decades through their control of the three main UK political parties, the thieving tax-haven 1% have ensured that Britain has been starved of over £100 billion in taxes every year.

The Panama Papers are a key moment to again expose how all three major UK political parties have for decades been in the pockets of the tax haven 1%.

Corbyn's call for direct rule for the UK's cabal of corrupt off-shore tax-havens, is the most radical positive proposal to emerge in years from a British politician. This is because unlike Blair he is not funded by tax haven donors.

This is the analysis of the Tories top donors that I included in the Tax Haven chapter of The Prostitute State - How Britain's Democracy Has Been Bought:

Largest donations to Conservatives

The Electoral Commission list of the largest individual donors to the Tory Party demonstrate the political strength of the tax-haven and hedge-fund pillars of The Prostitute State:

  • £1,999,967 - David Rowland: Appointed Treasurer by Cameron in 2010. Tax exile based in Guernsey tax-haven for 40 years. Personal worth £730 million.
  • £553,000 - Michael Farmer: Hedge fund manager - Founder of Red Kite, one of the world's largest industrial metal hedge-funds. Appointed Treasurer by Cameron in 2012. Personal worth £120 million.
  • £500,000 - Jonathan Wood: Manager SRM Global Hedge-fund Monaco. A former non-dom in the tax-haven of Switzerland.
  • £335,000 - Michael Bishop: Given a peerage by David Cameron in 2011. Personal worth estimated at £440 million.
  • £300,000 - May Makhzoumi: Wife of Lebanese-based former arms dealer and billionaire Fouad Makhzoumi. Most of the family fortune is based offshore.
  • £250,000 - Paul Beecroft: Venture Capitalist, Chair of Wonga.com. Estimated worth £100 million.
  • £250,000 - Mark Bamford: Joint owner of the JCB empire, most of which is owned by a series of offshore tax-haven based trusts.
  • £250,000 - Chris Rokos: Hedge Fund Manager. Personal worth £230 million.
  • £250,000 - Lord Sainsbury: Sainsbury's, despite only selling to the UK market, has 14 offshore tax-haven subsidiaries.


Donors are invited to meet Cameron and other senior party figures at dinners, post-Prime-Minister's Questions' lunches, drink-receptions, election-result events and important campaign launches. Cameron has even handed the writing of various government reports to top party donors.

Adrian Beecroft was asked to report on employment law, which shockingly recommended the abolition of almost all workers' employment rights and Anthony Bamford on UK manufacturing, which unsurprisingly recommended even further reductions in corporation tax and taxes on rich individuals.


For decades through their control of the three main UK political parties, the thieving tax-haven 1% have ensured that Britain has been starved of over £100 billion in taxes every year, which has resulted in a huge deficit and massive cuts in services, with social housing building stalled for years, with dire social impacts on the 99%.

David Cameron - tax haven Enabler in Chief!!

Make no mistake, all the current propaganda about Cameron "cracking down on tax-havens" is a joke.

I wrote extensively in The Prostitute State about how Cameron and Osborne, whilst pretending to be cracking down on tax-havens, are actually doing the oppposite i.e. making it ever easier for UK firms and the 1% to avoid taxation.

But on his personal level, below is an extract from what I wrote about Cameron's own connections to tax havens, as opposed to how he is abusing our government to facilitate tax-avoidance by the rest of the 1%.

A key question if we had a free-press that Cameron needs to answer is where did the missing £7.3 million from his dad's tax haven derived fortune go when he died?

Cameron's connections with tax-havens are numerous. In April 2012, the Guardian reported that his father's wealth accrued from setting up tax-haven investment funds. Ian Cameron was chair of Close International Asset Management Jersey, a director of Blairmore Holdings Panama and a shareholder in Blairmore Asset Management Geneva.

Blairmore Holdings was not named after the lucrative lobbying activities of Tony Blair but rather after the Cameron ancestral home in Scotland. In 2006, the hedge-fund's prospectus said it was basing itself in Panama, whose laws impose zero taxation on hedge-fund earnings made outside Panama. Investors had to invest a minimum of $100,000 in the fund, so it was explicitly aimed at the tax-avoiding super-rich.

The Guardian said that the prospectus boasted that "The Directors intend that the affairs of the Fund should be managed and conducted so that it does not become resident in the United Kingdom for UK taxation purposes. Accordingly the Fund will not be subject to United Kingdom corporation tax or income tax on its profits."

In 2009, the Sunday Times Rich List estimated Ian Cameron's wealth at £10m. Yet when he died in late 2010, his will left only £2.7 million from which David Cameron received the sum of £300,000. A possible explanation lies in the fact that the family will only details the estate's assets in England and Wales.

The Guardian said his "Offshore investments would only be listed in submissions to HMRC for inheritance tax purposes. It is unclear what those assets (if any) are worth and which family member owns them." As with his father, so it was with his father-in-law Lord Astor. In June 2012, the Daily Record reported that Astor's Scottish estate was owned by a Bahamas tax-haven registered company.

Despite the government's rhetoric condemning tax avoidance, Cameron, like Blair before him, has rewarded his tax-avoiding funders with actual seats at the government table. Philip Green is one of Britain's ten richest billionaires, with a fortune estimated at £4.1 billion. He owns the Arcadia fashion empire which includes Topshop, Burtons, Miss Selfridge and British Home Stores.

However on paper Philip Green does not actually own Arcadia. Instead, it is held in the name of his wife Tina Green. But she 'officially' lives in Monaco, where she pays no income tax.

In 2005, Green awarded himself £1.2bn, the biggest pay-cheque in British corporate history. This dividend was paid through a network of offshore accounts, via tax havens in Jersey, to his wife's Monaco bank account. According to the BBC this saved Green £285 million in UK taxes. This single tax manoeuvre would pay the salaries of 20,000 nurses.

Despite public outrage, this tax arrangement remains legal. The next time he fancies a billion pound dividend Green can do it again - no problem. Yet Cameron rewarded him by appointing him to oversee the government's cuts programmes. These are the same cuts to services for the poor, happening because billions in pounds of corporation tax are being legally avoided by people like Green.

Meanwhile, the Sun, Express and Mail fan the flames of hatred against EU democracy or are totally up in arms over looters caught stealing some bottled water, rather than the real corporate thieves in our midst.


The thieving tax havens are one of the crucial four pillars of The Prostitute State and they must be closed down.

Jeremy Corbyn is absolutely right.

 


 

Donnachadh McCarthy is an environmental campaigner and author.

Book: 'The Prostitute State - How Britain's Democracy Has Been Bought' is available as an E-book and paper (100% recycled).

Free ebook version of The Prostitute State is available to Occupiers, Fractivists, Momentum / Green Party members and students who cannot afford to buy a copy by emailing contact@3acorns.co.uk.

 

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