Tony Blair and the £8million tax 'mystery'
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair channelled millions of pounds through
a complicated web of companies and paid just a fraction in tax, The
Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
By Robert Mendick, Chief Reporter
10:00PM GMT 07 Jan 2012
Official accounts show a company set up by Mr Blair to manage his
business affairs paid just £315,000 in tax last year on an income of
more than £12 million. In that time, he employed 26 staff and paid
them total wages of almost £2.3 million.
The accounts provide the strongest evidence yet of the huge sums
generated by Mr Blair through his various activities since quitting
Downing Street in June 2007.
He runs a business consultancy ? Tony Blair Associates ? which has
deals with the governments of Kuwait and Kazakhstan among others and
is a paid adviser to JP Morgan, an American investment bank, and to
Zurich International, a global insurance company based in Switzerland.
Mr Blair makes a further £100,000 a time from speeches and lectures
while also presiding over a number of charities including a faith
Mr Blair has previously been criticised for cashing in on contacts
made in Downing Street and these accounts will likely add to those
The documents also reveal that in the two years until March 31 last
year, Mr Blair?s management company had a total turnover of more than
£20 million and paid tax of about £470,000.
The scale of Mr Blair?s finances are shown in accounts lodged by
Windrush Ventures Limited, just one of a myriad of companies and
partnerships set up by the former prime minister. Windrush Ventures
Ltd?s ?principal activity? is the ?provision of management services
to Mr Blair?s various other interests.
The accounts for the 12 months to March 31 were lodged with Companies
House in the week between Christmas and New Year and made publicly
available for the first time last week. Previously the accounts have
contained almost no information because Windrush was classified as a
small company. This time auditors appear to have been obliged to
divulge more information because of the amount of money being handled.
The accounts show a turnover of £12.005 million and administrative
expenses of £10.919 million, leaving Windrush Ventures with a profit
of just over £1 million, on which Mr Blair paid tax of £315,000. The
tax was paid at the corporate tax rate of 28 per cent.
Of those expenses, £2.285 million went on paying 26 employees at an
average salary of almost £88,000. Windrush Ventures also pays £550,000
a year to rent Mr Blair?s offices in Grosvenor Square, a stone?s throw
from the US embassy in Mayfair in central London and a further sum of
about £300,000 on office equipment and furniture. But those costs
amount to a little more than £3 million, meaning almost £8 million of
?administrative expenditure? is unexplained in the accounts.
It is not known from the accounts what happened to that huge sum.
Tax specialists who have studied the accounts have told The Sunday
Telegraph that the tax paid in 2010 of £154,000 and £315,000 in 2011
appears low because costs have been offset against the administrative
costs, which remain largely unexplained.
?It is very
difficult to see what these administrative costs could be. It is a
very large amount for a business like this. I am sure it is legitimate
but it is certainly surprising.
?The tax bill of £315,000 is explained by the large administrative
costs that are being treated as tax allowable.?
Richard Murphy, a charted accountant who runs Tax Research LLP and has
?There is about £8 million
which we don?t know where it goes. That money is unexplained. There is
no indication at all why the administration costs are so high. What
has happened to about £8 million which is being offset against tax??
There is no suggestion that Mr Blair?s tax affairs are anything other
than legitimate. His accounts are audited by KPMG, one of the world?s
biggest accountancy firms. Mr Blair presides over 12 different legal
entities, handling the millions of pounds he has received since
leaving office. Another set of companies, which are run in parallel to
Windrush Ventures, are called Firerush Ventures and appear to operate
in exactly the same, oblique way.
The money paid into Windrush Ventures Ltd largely comes from Windrush
Ventures No. 3 Limited Partnership, which appears to be where money is
deposited before being spread around other companies, ultimately in Mr
Blair?s ownership. The limited partnership does not have to disclose
publicly any accounts allowing its activities to remain secret.
Mr Murphy said last night: ?It is in the limited partnership where
things really happen. But that is the one Mr Blair keeps secret. We
don?t know how much money is in the LP. It is completely hidden. The
question is why is Tony Blair running such as a completely secretive
A spokesman for Mr Blair said last night: ?The Windrush accounts are
prepared in accordance with the relevant legal, accounting and
regulatory guidance. Tony Blair continues to be a UK taxpayer on all
of his income and all of his companies are UK registered for tax
The spokesman added that the accounts did not relate to any of Mr
Blair?s charitable activities, which raised money separately as
independently registered charities.
The spokesman chose not to explain what happened to about £8 million
of administrative expenses.
- posted 8 years ago