Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Is Smythson based in a tax haven?

There's a fun little story in the Daily Mail that plays perfectly to a whole string of prejudices.
Awkward! Luxury leather goods firm Smythson where PM's wife Samantha Cameron works is based in a tax haven.
Crivens! A tax avoider at the heart of Downing Street!
So there must have been an awkward conversation over the Number 10 breakfast table this morning after it emerged the Prime Minister's wife Samantha works for a company which is now based in a tax haven. Luxury leather goods firm Smythson, where Mrs Cameron is a creative consultant, is owned through a holding company in Luxembourg and linked to a secretive trust in the Channel Island of Guernsey, another well-known tax haven
The meat in this sandwich is down at the bottom of the page:
Smythson is owned and run by secretive Egypt-born Frenchman Jacques Bahbout, who bought the group for £18m in 2009 through his Italian handbag manufacturer Tivoli Group... Details in the firm’s annual accounts filed at Companies House show Holdsmyth is owned by ‘a company incorporated in Luxembourg’ and is ultimately controlled by ‘Ogier Trustee (Jersey) Ltd as trustees of the Barracuda Trust, a trust settled in Guernsey’

As a bonus, exactly the same story appeared in the Mirror more than a year ago.

Is there anything to this story? Not really. The Smythson brand and stores are owned by Holdsmyth, a UK-registered company with its registered office in Bond Street. So, the headline's not true - Smythson is based in London, which is only a tax haven if you believe Nick Shaxson. Any profits made by Holdsmyth will, obviously, be liable to corporation tax here. Holdsmyth itself is owned by a Luxembourg company (Greenwill SA), which is the Holdco for Tivoli Group SA, the Italian company owned by Bahbout.

All that's happened is that the Mail (and the Mirror this time last year) have read Holdsmyth's accounts and hyperventilated at the mention of foreigners. This one's a #QTWTAIN for John Rentoul's series.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Procedure By Which conservatives Could Control Parliament

If UKIP  is  Lucky,  UKIP could  get,   perhaps,  get   ten to thirty   seats
in  Parliament.  Do  not   forget,   the  public  still regards  UKIP  as   a
one  issue  party.  To gain  control of  Parliament  UKIP  and  (and frie-
nds) should  form a  new  conservative  party  with  a  platform that is 
close to that of the existing Conservative party, omitting, of course, 
policies that are objectionable to conservatives. The purpose would
be to make a bed that would be easy for conservatives to slide into,
including  the eighty  percent  of  the Conservatives who left Conser-
vative  associations. UKIP and the  conservatives  should   then  form
 a  political  association  in  each  parliamentary  district.   UKIP   could
merge with the new party, thus getting rid of the one issue problem. 
Every one who would have worked  to  form  the new,  conservative,
 party   should   be   prevented   from    joining    the    new   party    for
a  period   of time  to  prevent  the  impression  that  UKIP  controls  it.
The two or three conservative parties should hold a primary election
to determine who runs as the Parliamentary candidate, with the losers
to help the winner. The cost of forming new associations can be raised
by local contributors. It is suggested that the  new   conservative   asso-
ciations and the political party be controlled by the lowest level of con-
servatives, such as teachers, small businessmen, solicitors, professionals
etc. If the  above   procedure   can  not  be  completed  in  time  to   get 
candidates   elected   to    Parliament,  the  new  party  must  wait  until
after the  election  and  hold  a  petition  demanding  that  the  elected
MP  resign. Note: an MP  represents   every  person  in  his  district,  not
just members and   supporters of his party. When the petition reaches
fifty percent of those who voted in the prior election, the conservatives
will be morally justified in demanding their MP"s resignation. Then the
new party could run their  candidates  in  the  following by elections. 
To select a candidate, a local  association should  advertise  for applicants
or the position of candidate for  Parliament, then  select   the   best  app-
licant  by using rigorous tests, including, most importantly,  psychological 
evaluation. psychological evaluation is an absolute necessity as the psych-
ological evaluation is the only way to tell who is honest and who is a con-
artist; members of the public  cannot.  Testing  could  be  required  of the 
association  officers,  committee  members and delegates, etc.

The platform, selected by new party associations,  should be some what
 vague in order to facilitate integration  the platforms of the  new  assoc-
iations into one platform. It is suggested that self forming cliques of those
who are   honest  and   trust  worthy  be formed;  then form   self  forming
cliques of those who have   political skills  and  capabilities,  within  the
first described clique.

The corruption in Ukip is a cause for concern. Information about the corr-
uption may bee seen on the following websites:

John Newell

5:28 pm  

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