Tory party accused of breaking the law with donations from tax exiles

The Conservative Party is under fire after it was revealed that the party illegally accepted over £1 million in funds from Brits who are actually based in tax havens in the run up to the last election.

The Political Parties and Elections Act of 2009 made donations of over £7,500 from people not based in the UK for tax purposes against the law.

An investigation in The Times newspaper has revealed people living in tax havens and their UK companies have made £5.5 million in political donations since July 2009, with the Conservative Party receiving £1,053,400 before the 2017 election.

A Conservative Party spokesman denied any illegality and told The London Economic: 
“The Conservative Party does not accept foreign donations – as they are illegal. If a British citizen is able to vote in an election for a political party, they also have the democratic right to donate to a political party.

“All donations to the Conservative Party are received in good faith, after appropriate due diligence. Donations are properly and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission, published by them, and comply fully with the law.” 

Earlier in the week we reported how Theresa May pulled a vote on a bill which is crucial to ensuring major financial institutions can continue to operate in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The Financial Services Bill was pulled at the last minute when it became clear the government no longer had the majority it needed in the House of Commons with up to 22 Conservative MPs set to defy the government to vote for a cross-party amendment aimed at forcing new tax transparency rules on British Overseas Territories.

a beach, yesterday

This week it was revealed that a third of British billionaires have moved to tax havens over the past ten years.

By becoming non-UK resident for tax purposes, wealthy people can avoid 38.1% in UK income tax on dividends and 20% in capital gains tax on the sale of shares.

The investigation was carried out by The Times newspaper, who found that 28 out of 93 British billionaires have moved to tax havens or are in the currently making plans to relocate.

They are said to be among 6,800 Britons running 12,000 UK firms from low-tax jurisdictions.

Many of those who left the UK have been awarded honours or hold titles.

The Times editorial wrote: “It is inequitable and unconscionable when the very wealthy can influence British public policy while not being subject to it in the same way as everyone else.”

Last year the Conservative Party came under intense questioning from the opposition for accepting £626,500 in political donations from Lubov Chernukhin, wife of ex-deputy finance minister and Putin crony Vladimir Chernukhin.

News of the final instalment came after the SKripal poisoning at a time of calls for greater scrutiny over foreign wealth and Russian funds behind the Conservative party.

The Chernukhins hit the headlines in 2014 paying £160,000 to play tennis with David Cameron and Boris Johnson.

Boris Johnson, in happier times

“The real division in our country… is between the many who do the work, create the wealth and pay their taxes and the few, who make the rules, reap the rewards and often dodge their taxes,” said Labour MP Lesley Laird today.

@BenGelblum 

MORE:

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