Monday, October 16, 2006

Tory Property Dealing

Further to yesterday’s post today’s Guardian reports that the Midlands Industrial Council has belatedly crept out of the shadows and named its 22 members, presumably in a bid to head off adverse publicity (Although as I argued yesterday, the Tory blogs took no interest in the story, taking the line that because MIC donations were declared to the Electoral Commission, it was of no account that the actual donors were anonymous). The status of Constituency Campaigning Services is, as I understand it, still being investigated by the Electoral Commission, as is Tory (and not just Labour) "cash-for-peerages". Sadly, I am not optimistic that there will be successful prosecutions. Meanwhile yesterdays Observer carried a story about the Tories acquisition of their former HQ in Smith Square (together with another property) for £15.65 million. This was done by purchasing the offshore company which owned the properties – Platinum Overseas Holdings based in the Virgin Isles – a ruse which allowed the Tories to evade £600,000 in stamp duty. It also seems that whoever owned Platinum (which is a mystery) sold the company for less than its market value: in effect this amounts to an undisclosed anonymous donation of about £4.35 million.


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