Osborne Exempts “Politically Exposed Persons” From Money Laundering Checks

MPs complained earlier this year that they are being hounded “like African despots” following anti-money laundering checks from banks like HSBC. These checks are designed to ensure money isn’t being funnelled into criminal gangs or other corrupt arrangements. Charles Walker was furious that MPs and their families are on the list of “Politically Exposed Persons”, the automatic anti-money laundering watch list used by banks:

“It is ridiculously heavy-handed for banks to treat British MPs and their families in this aggressive way. They should be targeting crooked despots and dictators, not MPs’ grannies.”

Because politicians’ family members would never be involved in anything dodgy…

George Osborne this afternoon accepted an amendment to the Financial Services Bill which will see some Politically Exposed Persons and their families exempted from these anti-money laundering rules. Ministers will now “exclude… specified categories of persons” from the list of so-called PEPs, as Osborne says it is “disproportionate” for banks to include MPs and relatives on the watch list. Mossack Fonseca will be able to whisk MPs and their families through the account opening process…

Eagle Spins Caymans Aide Row

Following Guido’s revelation that the firm run by Labour’s new business tsar was incorporated in the Caymans, the FT’s Jim Pickard has asked Angela Eagle for a comment on her “ethical” business adviser. Eagle replied that Anthony Watson’s company “pays taxes in all the jurisdictions in which it operates”. What is the corporate tax rate in the Cayman Islands? Zero percent. Ian Cameron’s Panama fund paid taxes in all the jurisdictions in which it operated, and Labour said that was morally disgusting…

Labour Business Tsar’s Firm Incorporated in Caymans

The financial services firm run by Labour’s new business tsar was incorporated in the Cayman Islands, Guido can reveal. Anthony Watson is the flamboyant president and chief operating officer of Uphold Inc, an online financial services company headquartered in California. Earlier this year he was appointed by the Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle to chair Labour’s Business and Enterprise Advisory Council. Eagle said at the time: “Both Anthony and I are determined to lay the foundations for a shared capitalism… It’s great that Anthony has agreed to chair this group which will help forge a new vision for a dynamic industrial strategy, because he has the fresh ideas and a proven track record of putting innovation and ethics at the heart of business practices.”. Well, how’s that whole “shared capitalism” and ethics thing working out?

Watson took charge of his financial services company in April 2015, when it went by the name Bitreserve. This is from their website:

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission documents seen by Guido show that Bitreserve’s jurisdiction of incorporation was the Caymans. Its address is a PO box.

What does Angela Eagle think about the ethics of her top business adviser running a company incorporated in the tax-free Caymans? 

MPs Send £1 Million of Expenses Offshore

Over £1 million of taxpayers’ money has been diverted to offshore property companies through the MPs’ expenses system. In 2012-13, 13 MPs were paying rent expenses for properties in the luxury riverside Dolphin Square complex, made famous as the home of coke-snorting Lords (and worse).

Records show MPs including top Corbyn allies Steve Rotheram, Nic Dakin and Shabana Mahmood paid the expenses cash to subsidiaries of Westbrook Dolphin Square Ltd. This is a network of 612 companies which own two flats each in Dolphin Square. All 612 companies are registered in Jersey…

Tory MP Jonathan Evans meanwhile paid rent expenses to Abal Establishment, a property company with offices in London but which is registered in the tax haven of Lichtenstein:

Overall in 2012-13 MPs sent over £230,000 of taxpayer cash to tax-avoiding offshore property companies. Extrapolating these figures means over the course of the last parliament well over £1 million of your money was sent offshore so MPs could live it up in London…

MPs’ Pension Scheme Managed Offshore

Potentially every MP has investments managed offshore through the parliamentary pension scheme. The latest annual accounts of the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund disclose that one of the fund’s managers is BlackRock UK Property Fund. A quick look at said fund’s prospectus shows it is domiciled offshore in Jersey:

When Labour MPs condemn Cameron’s father as “absolutely disgusting” for incorporating trusts offshore, remember their own pension scheme is run by fund managers domiciled in Jersey…

Dave Gets His Daily Dose

Another happy reader – Dave shares with the House the news, as revealed by Guido, that the BBC, Mirror Group, and Guardian have all been using offshore investment funds. Sign up to the Guidogram here to get your daily dose too… 

Corbyn’s Thousands in Offshore Income

Corbyn has eventually located his tax return for the last year – the most interesting thing is that he appears to have filed it late. Was he fined?

What isn’t disclosed is that in previous years Jezza made a significant amount of income from offshore sources. In the last few years he declared £5,000 in payments from Press TV, the Iranian state television channel, and another £5,000 from Al-Jazeera, the Doha-based Qatar-backed channel. Not to mention junkets to the Middle East, South America and elsewhere worth tens of thousands paid for by foreign governments. The corporate tax rate in Qatar is just 10%…

UPDATE: Corbyn’s spokesman confirms Jezza was fined £100 for filing his tax return late.

Osborne’s Tax Summary

The Treasury say:

“The dividend income relates to shares in Osborne and Little Group Limited, a UK resident manufacturing company of wallpapers and fabrics that was founded by his father. The dividends are derived from shares that the Chancellor of the Exchequer owns directly, and also as life tenant* of a family trust, based and resident in the UK which holds, as its sole asset, shares in that company. The Chancellor of the Exchequer paid income tax on these dividends.”

Osborne and Little has been hit by its own offshore rowThe PM, Chancellor and Shadow Chancellor have all released summaries of their tax returns – the Leader of the Opposition still can’t find his…

*A life interest trust is a trust established to provide the beneficiary with (who is known as the ‘life tenant’) the right to receive the income (after expenses) from the trust.  This right is usually given for their lifetime.  On their death the trust fund passes to the other named beneficiaries, known as the ‘residuary beneficiaries’.  Basically it protects the family capital and ensures it passes to children rather than, for example, ex-wives… 

BBC’s £84 Million in Bermuda

SDFFSDD

Cameron’s taxes and the Panama Papers have led the BBC News bulletins for the past week, yet licence fee payers remain unenlightened about Auntie’s own offshore financial arrangements. What better place to start than the 2013 BBC Pensions report, […]

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Look in the Mirror: Millions Held Offshore

“David Cameron has behaved like a chancer over offshore funds,” blasted the Mirror’s leader on Friday: “Voice of the Mirror says hard to believe the PM will end the use of offshore financial hideaways by the filthy rich when he […]

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Rich’s Monday Morning View

Houses540[…]

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READ: Cameron’s Tax Returns

Cameron has released his tax returns for the last six years. Wisely his inheritance was split into £300,000 from his father and a £200,000 gift from his mother in 2011, tax planning which will ultimately save him £70,000 in inheritance […]

+ READ MORE +



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