Sunday, 8 January 2012

Tony Blair, in a rush to hide his money and dodge taxes

This is from the Daily Mail:

Tony Blair's money-making has soared to unprecedented levels as official figures reveal his companies posted a bonanza 42 per cent rise in income last year.

The former Prime Minister's secretive business empire declared a £12million turnover, up from £8.5million the year before.

Yet this is potentially only the tip of the iceberg, since Mr Blair exploits a perfectly legal loophole to keep his finances secret.

The full extent of his income is cloaked in secrecy because he has constructed a complex web of shadowy companies and partnerships which let him avoid publishing full accounts detailing all the money from his commercial ventures.

The £12million turnover was posted by Windrush Ventures, one of at least 12 companies and partnerships controlled by Mr Blair, already thought to have channelled tens of millions of pounds through his various firms since leaving Downing Street in June 2007.

But the company posted an administrative cost of nearly £10.2million to another company owned by Mr Blair, leaving him with a profit of just over £1million.

With the corporate tax rate of 28 per cent, this left Mr Blair with a tax liability of just £315,000.

Money cascades through the interlinked Windrush firms, which have been described by accountants as an 'opaque' business model which shields the true amount of money being paid to Mr Blair.

Accounts filed at Companies House yesterday revealed that £10.2million of the £12million income from Windrush Ventures Ltd was paid into it from Windrush Ventures No 2.

Income for Windrush Ventures No 1 and Windrush Ventures No 2 is not disclosed in their accounts, and there are no accounts at all for Windrush Ventures No 3 because it is a limited partnership and not required to file accounts.

Mr Blair has set up a mirror-image to the Windrush structure of four companies called Firerush Ventures.

The nature of business undertaken by the Firerush companies has never been disclosed - though limited partnership Firerush Ventures No 3 has been permitted to conduct business by City regulator the Financial Servcies Authority - suggesting a money managing activity.

Mr Blair's astonishing earnings include lucrative after-dinner speaking, consultancies with banks and foreign governments, a series of deals with foreign companies, and the pension and other perks he enjoys as a former Prime Minister - including taxpayer-funded police protection.

Critics also point out that a large proportion of his earnings comes from patrons in America and the Middle East - a clear benefit from forging a close alliance with George Bush during his invasion of Iraq.

What next? Is he going to create water and earth rush ventures to hide money from the wind and fire?

I can't forgive Tony Blair for turning the Labour Party into a gateway to his money-making ventures. I can't forgive him for taking Britain into an illegal war and making a profit from it. He's a narcissistic money grubbing con artist with a big, smug smile on his face. Sounds familiar?