Thursday, April 01, 2010

Blair Charities Illegally Fund Election Website?

'Tricky Dicky' Blair has set up a dodgy new electioneering website. All part of CREEP - his Campaign to RE-Elect the Prime minister. The Orange Party thought it would be fun to follow the money.

Is Phoney Blair illegally using funds from his charities, forming part of his complex web of secret companies, as a cover to bang the drum for New Labour?

The complex ownership of washed-up Blair’s new campaign website is shrouded in secrecy, hidden behind sham shell companies. But it seems cash from his charities are funnelled to the very company which runs his campaign website.

And that would break charity commission rules, make the move illegal once the election is called and downright dishonest if, heaven forbid, the Vicar's charities cash is channelled through off-shore tax-havens.

Much of the Blair income including cash from the charities, the 'Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative' and the 'Tony Blair Faith Foundation' has been channelled through the crafty structure 'Windrush Ventures No 3 Limited Partnership'.

And that exploits a little-known loophole in UK company law at the centre of the scam to keep his finances secret, leading some to describe his financial arrangements as 'Byzantine' and 'opaque'.

And who runs Blair's spanking new website? Step forward the very same Windrush Ventures No.3 LP, according to the website's terms and conditions. You can't keep a slick snake-oil salesman down. The website describes "The Office of Tony Blair" as "a trading name of Windrush Ventures No.3 LP".

But the charities commission states quite clearly: "Charities must not support or oppose a political party or candidate. Charities must not donate funds to political parties."

More so when an election is called and strict election laws kick in. "The guiding principle of charity law in terms of elections is that charities should be, and be seen to be, independent from party politics," warns the commission.

Blair's vast wealth gleaned from a £4.6m book deal and lucrative advising jobs for a US bank and a Swiss insurer is hidden away in commercial consultancy 'Tony Blair Associates' and Blair charities. Earlier this month it emerged Blair had carried out secret South Korea deals leading the Mail to reveal his "secret investment deals in low-tax regimes".

Profit-making schemes involving a dozen different legal entities are at the heart of the Blair Rich Project, handling the unprecedented millions funnelled through a couple of "limited partnerships" - 'Windrush Ventures' and a mirror 'Firerush Ventures' running side by side.

Yet the so-called limited partnership, 'Windrush Ventures No 3 LP' consists on paper of a partnership between an entity owned by Blair himself and an anonymous off-the-shelf company.

The members of Windrush Ventures No.3 limited partnership are BDBCO No.819 Ltd and Windrush Ventures No.2 LLP. But the off-the-shelf company, 'BDBCO No 819 Ltd' does not reveal its ownership on records at Companies House. Instead, its shares are listed as held by a second off-the-shelf entity, 'BDBCO No 822'.

While the law requires Blair to publish limited accounts for parts of the Windrush entities, the finances of the master-partnership remain a secret. But more than £6m of Blair earnings has found its way down from the partnership into other companies.

The Blair Rich Project's complex financial structures using highly specialised limited partnerships and parallel companies were unravelled by accountant Richard Murphy who solved the mystery buried in the small print of the Partnership (Accounts) Regulations 2008, following a Guardian online competition to "shine the brightest light" on Blair's dodgy financial dealings.

Blair, who would normally have to publish company accounts detailing the millions flowing into his various ventures, found a crafty way to keep his wealth secret giving him the benefits of running a UK company but without prying eyes.

But Blair's complex tax dealings has led some to question whether he's paying full UK tax on all overseas earnings and whether some companies are in tax-havens, deliberately keeping client names secret.

A Blair spokesman has insisted the ex-PM was a 'UK resident taxpayer on all of his income'. But details of the full revenues remain hidden. Blair refuses to offer any explanation over why he is using the complex structures described by the Financial Times as "neither tax efficient nor managerially useful".

The sham shell smokescreen gives Blair the cover of an offshore "secrecy jurisdiction" while allowing him to state that he remains a "regular, onshore, British taxpayer", fuelling speculation that Blair might have been thinking of going offshore before his EU president bid was scuppered.

The Orange Party noted on Tuesday it was time a forensic accountant took a fresh look at the legality of phoney Blair's sordid shady tax dealings, asking what has Blair got to hide that he'd go to such extraordinary lengths and cost to keep his tax affairs so secret? Add to that using his charities as an illegal cover for political electioneering.

But with delicious irony it seems New Labour's 'secret weapon' has backfired. Research by PoliticsHome suggests perma-tanned Blair’s intervention in the election may do more harm than good for the fag-end campaign.

Blair wealth graphic: Guardian

No comments: