Monday, November 26, 2012

Guardian’s Offshore Secrets:
Guardian Media Group Cayman Islands Company Still Active

In 2011 Guido produced a video highlighting Guardian Media Group’s financial hypocrisies, provoking a rambling article from editor Alan Rusbridger and another self-justifying piece in the paper blaming the decision to place hundreds of millions in assets offshore on their investment partners Apax.

Rusbridger argued essentially that it is a tough world for his newspaper so they can’t be pure in their business practices. A transparently self-serving argument. It remains the case that despite the Guardian’s high-mindedness it has tax dodging in its DNA. The original trust structure was set up by CP Scott to avoid inheritance taxes. That was wound up in 2008 to exploit a loophole enabling them to pay zero capital gains tax on £307 million in profits. But they haven’t stopped there.

Guido checked with the Cayman’s company registrar yesterday to see if a certain controversial tax-exempt corporation was still operating. In 2008 The Guardian claimed GMG Hazel Acquisition 1 Limited, a GMG-owned company, would be transferred into their investment partner Apax’s offshore structures, normally when this happens there is a name change. The name is unchanged to this day, strongly suggesting the ownership is unchanged. In the spirit of their Offshore Secrets investigation into tax havens, sham companies and nominee directors, perhaps it is time the Guardian explained why

  • If GMG Hazel Acquisition 1 Limited holds no assets, why have its owners continued to pay registration fees since 2007 so it can remain an active company?
  • If it does hold assets what is the total present value of GMG and associated companies’ assets held via the Cayman Islands or other offshore tax havens?
  • Does GMG Hazel Acquisition 1 Limited have “sham” nominee directors, if so, who are they?

There may well be an innocent explanation, these are the sort of questions they ask of others…

Further reading on the Guardian‘s tax hypocrisy:

The Sacked Soiree

After the September reshuffle sacked former ministers got together to form a drinking/dining club, loosely named the Geronimo Club due to the fact they shared the date of their demise with the old chieftain. Guido hears that the name has gone out of the window, but the grouping is going strong, indeed apparently tonight will see their inaugural knees up.

It’s an interesting choice of location: the official residence of the Chief Whip – 9 Downing Street. Sir George Young was an original member of the group and despite being called back to government, Gentleman George is still laying on the drinks. And as revealed in yesterday’s Daily Star Sunday, Caroline Spelman is bringing the canapés…

Ross Kemp on Gangs: The Blairites

Join Ross Kemp as he travels to the mean streets of South London to meet ringleader of a notorious and radical gang known as ‘The Blairites’. Steve Reed is the name that strikes fear into the hearts of London residents, when he ran his extortion racket in Lambeth, nicknamed ‘The Council’, gang crime soared to record levels. Now he wants to expand his operation further south, taking on arch-rival Lee the Croy Don’ Jasper, fighting for control. Kemp hasn’t come face-to-face to such a dangerous figure since the last time he spoke to his ex-wife…

+ + + New Bank of England Governor is Mark Carney + + +

Betting was suspended on Paul Tucker. Oops.

Here is some background on Carney, the current governor of the Bank of Canada.

Developing…

REACTION:

George Eustice’s Letter to Recruit Press Haters

Cameron’s former Press Secretary George Eustice is leading the charge for state intervention on the back benches. Here is what he has just sent Tory colleagues:

From: EUSTICE, George
Sent: 26 November 2012 13:50
To: EUSTICE, George
Subject: A brief history of “last chances” for the press

Following speculation that the government might be about to offer the press, “one last chance” to make self regulation actually work, I thought colleagues might be interested in the history of previous “last chances” over the past 65 years. Parliament has not always been good at learning from its mistakes, so has condemned journalism to suffer crisis after crisis. Here is the record:

1. 1953. Four years after a Royal Commission told the press to start regulating itself, nothing had been done. Only the threat of legislation forced them to create the General Council of the Press. Withdrawing his Private Member’s Bill, C.J. Simmons MP told the Commons: ‘I give warning here and now that if it fails, some of us again will have to come forward with a measure similar to this bill.’

2. 1962. A second Royal Commission told the press to make self-regulation effective: ‘We think that the Press should be given another opportunity itself voluntarily to establish an authoritative General Council . . . We recommend, however, that the government should specify a time limit after which legislation would be introduced.’

3. 1977. The third Royal Commission on the Press urged radical changes to the Press Council and said that if nothing was done parliament should act. The report said: ‘We recommend that the press should be given one final chance to prove that voluntary self-regulation can be made to work.’

4. 1990. Parliament backed the Calcutt Committee recommendations for radical improvements to self-regulation, including the establishment of an effective Press Complaints Commission. Papers were given a ‘year of grace’ to make this work and the Home Secretary, David Waddingston, told the Commons: ‘This is positively the last chance for the industry to establish an effective non-statutory system of regulation.’

5. 1993. The Calcutt Review concluded that the PCC was ‘not . . . an effective regulator of the press’. It recommended a Press Complaints Tribunal backed by statute. A Major government with a slender majority failed to implement this.

6. 2011. Amid public outrage over the revelation that Milly Dowler’s phone had been hacked, David Cameron told the Commons: ‘I accept we can’t say it is the last chance saloon all over again. We’ve done that.’

If you are interested in doing your bit to try to break this cycle of failure but would like further information or want to discuss the issue more fully, please do not hesitate to make contact.

George Eustice MP
Member of Parliament for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
020 7
http://www.georgeeustice.co.uk

It’s said he has never forgiven the papers for nicknaming him “Useless Eustice”.

BIJ Try to Have Their Cake and Eat It

Following reports over the weekend that the Bureau of Investigative Journalism invoiced the BBC £3,250 for that Newsnight report, this morning the BIJ confirmed to Guido that they have yet to receive payment. If they have been expecting the cash this directly contradicts their claim yesterday that it wasn’t a BIJ story: “We are satisfied the Bureau was not itself directly responsible for the content of the programme”. The BIJ are trying to have their cake and eat it, either they weren’t responsible for the story or they shouldn’t be charging for it. They should donate the fee to a charity of Lord McAlpine’s choice. 

Panic on the Streets of Rotherham
Under Siege Candidate Pulls Out of BBC Hustings

Following Guido’s revelation earlier that Labour are diverting resources north to shore up their struggling Rotherham campaign, it now appears the wheels are really coming off. BBC Sheffield is reporting that their candidate has pulled out of tonight’s hustings.

Their correspondent James Vincent says Labour claim this has nothing to do with the council mess.

Of course not…

She’s a Celebrity Get Her Out of There

Nadine has landed:

Someone better tell Brian…

Labour Panicking About Rotherham
HQ Diverting Resources North

Labour insiders are getting nervous about Rotherham after this weekend’s Labour council omnishambles. With Respect’s Yvonne Ridley now at 5/1, Labour HQ are diverting resources from Croydon and Middlesbrough, fearing a Bradford style upset. All Labour politicians, staff and volunteers are being told to head to Rotherham instead of the other two constituencies. Buses are being laid on. Guido understands that Harriet Harman was meant to go campaign for Steve Reed in Croydon today, but is instead heading north. Sounds like they’ve been watching too much Homeland…

With Ladbrokes offering exactly the same price for Respect’s Lee Jasper upsetting Labour’s Steve Reed in Croydon, someone is going to get it in the neck if the upset falls there. Reed, a Marmite candidate from the start, is losing local support fast.

Find out which newspapers are most obsessed with Leveson…

Over on MediaGuido


Seen Elsewhere

David Cameron’s Draft Resignation Letter | Speccie
Labour HQ to Be Demolished | Asa Bennett
Dirty Politics is a Good Thing | Harry Cole
Media Fear and Loathing in Scotland, Labour Next | Owen Jones
UK Top 10 Influencer Political Blogs | Cision
Redwood Exposes Constitutional Vandalism | Nick Wood
No Campaign Has Been Inept | Mail
PM Faces Friday Bloodbath | Mail
Will Miliband Bottle English Devolution? | Mary Riddell
Why Pollsters Could Be Wrong | John McDermott
Cameron Faces Vote of No Confidence or Rebellion | FT


VOTER-RECALL
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The Prime Minister feels the pressure:

“I have to say that after the events I have been facing over the last few days, assassination would be a welcome release.”



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