- Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay
- Exclusive: Labour calls on Theresa May’s husband Philip to answer questions about his role at a company linked to the Paradise Papers tax avoidance scandal.
- Philip May works for investment management firm Capital Group, which reportedly used offshore-registered funds to make investments in a Bermuda-registered company.
- Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, Jon Trickett, says May has “serious questions to answer.”
- Downing Street says May has no role in investment decisions at the company.
LONDON – Labour has called for the prime minister’s husband Philip May to answer “serious” questions about his role at a company linked to the Paradise Papers tax avoidance scandal.
Leaked emails seen by Private Eye suggest that investment advisors Capital Group, where Mr May is a relationship manager, used offshore law firm Appleby to arrange investments in tax havens.
Capital Group’s Cayman Islands funds, CGPE V LLP and Capital International Private Equity Funds (CIPEF) V LP, invested in a Bermuda-registered South American agriculture company, called El Tejar, Private Eye reported. Both the Cayman Islands and Bermuda are offshore jurisdictions, known for their zero rates of tax.
Labour’s Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, Jon Trickett, told Business Insider that Philip May now had serious questions to answer.
“There are some serious questions for Philip May to answer about his firm’s use of tax havens, whether he had any knowledge of it and if he thinks this is an acceptable way to do business,” Trickett said.
He added: “Labour has previously asked Theresa May what her government plans to do to clamp down on the tax havens where money is squirrelled away to avoid paying taxes for public services in this country. When it comes to paying tax, there is one rule for the super-rich and another for the rest of us and, in refusing to act, the Prime Minister appears to condone this.”
A spokesperson for the prime minister told Business Insider that Philip May was not involved in any investment decisions at the company
“Mr May is involved in the development of Capital Group’s retirement solutions. He is not an investor but consults with other Capital associates on retirement products and solutions for clients,” they said.
Theresa May’s ‘blind trust’
- Leon Neal / Getty
Downing Street has denied that either the PM or husband have any “direct” investments offshore.
“Neither the prime minister nor Mr May have any direct offshore investments,” her spokesperson said last week.
“Their investments have been declared to the Cabinet office and are held in a blind trust.”
The use of a blind trust raises the possibility that the Mays could have money invested offshore without their knowledge.
Asked about this, the PM’s spokesperson replied: “The nature of a blind trust is just that. It is a well-established mechanism for protecting ministers in their handling of interests and it means they are not involved in any decisions on the management, acquisitions or disposal of items in the trust. By definition a blind trust is blind.”
Asked by BI whether the prime minister had requested that the blind trust was ethical in terms of tax, they replied that they “have nothing more to add,” on the matter.
The leaked emails concerning Capital Group are part of the cache of documents stolen from Appleby last year, which detail the complex financial arrangements of some of the world’s richest individuals, and have been dubbed the “Paradise Papers.”
The use of offshore tax havens to register companies and make investments has been put under the spotlight in recent years due to numerous leaks, another example being the Panama Papers, published in 2016.
However, there are many legal means by which companies and individuals can structure their finances via offshore jurisdictions to avoid tax. Capital Group is not accused of any wrongdoing.
Capital Group is yet to respond to emails seeking comment.