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BrilloPad
22nd March 2009, 08:17
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/banking_and_finance/article5950498.ece

THE government minister in charge of stamping out corporate tax avoidance has himself set up a business in the tax haven of Bermuda. Lord Myners, already under fire for approving Sir Fred Goodwin’s massive pension from Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), was part-time chairman of an offshore company which avoided more than £100m a year in taxes.

Details of Myners’s involvement in Aspen Insurance Holdings (AIH) have emerged as Gordon Brown seeks to win the backing of heads of government to prise open tax havens at a meeting of the G20 in London on April 2.

Myners, who earned nearly £200,000 from AIH in one year, is also facing questions over share options he accrued during five years as chairman of the Bermuda-based company. Accounts for AIH show that at the end of 2007 Myners held 318,338 share options. On Friday the shares, which are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, closed at $21.64, which would value that stake at £4.8m.

Myners, financial services secretary to the Treasury and former chairman of the Guardian Media Group, was awarded the majority of the share options at an exercise price of $16.20 a share in August 2003, a year after he helped to start the company.

When he stepped down in May 2007 he was given until August 2008 to buy the shares. If he had bought the shares between January and August last year, when Aspen’s share price fluctuated between $22.59 and $29.90, he would have made a profit of between £1m and £2.1m.

When approached by The Sunday Times on Friday morning, Myners declined to say whether he had exercised the shares. On Saturday afternoon a Treasury spokesman said that Myners had not exercised the share options and owned no stock in Aspen.

Although any share transactions made by Myners while he was a director would have had to have been declared, these rules cease to apply once a director leaves the board.

A filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission discloses that Myners, who is also leading the government’s clampdown on City bonuses, received a farewell bonus of £50,000 for his final four months at Aspen. The company specialises in property and crisis reinsurance policies which pay out in the event of hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters.

His five-year term as chairman of both the UK and Bermuda arms of Aspen ended in May 2007 and he became a minister last October.

Reinsurance companies that set up in Bermuda do not pay tax on the premiums they raise in the UK. These revenues are transferred to Bermuda, where they are invested tax-free. Companies based on the island also escape corporation tax. Although Aspen has offices and most of its staff in London, its parent company is based in Bermuda.

Aspen’s parent company made profits of $489m (£349.2m) in 2007. Had AIH been domiciled in Britain it would have had to pay £104m in corporation tax. Several subsidiaries do, however, pay tax in the UK.

Richard Murphy , an adviser to the Tax Justice Network, which campaigns against tax havens, said: “The reason insurance and reinsurance set up in Bermuda is to avoid tax.

“Now we find that the man charged with getting City institutions to pay all their tax is in fact an expert in how to avoid tax. The government has put a fox in charge of the chicken coop.”

The US Congress has named Bermuda as one of more than 30 “offshore secrecy jurisdictions” in legislation to crack down on havens in the coming weeks.

Brown has repeatedly called for tax havens to be outlawed. In December Myners helped to launch a government investigation into the tax lost through havens, saying: “Off-shore financial centres must play a responsible role in the global financial system.”

The Treasury said he had complied fully with the House of Lords reporting rules for financial interests. A Treasury spokesman said: “Lord Myners has no continuing interest in or income from the company. [He] is fully domiciled in the UK for tax purposes; all previous income and capital gains [he] made from the company were taxed in the UK at the usual rate.”

Myners also faces a challenge to his account to the Treasury select committee last week in which he said he did not know the full cost of Goodwin’s RBS pension.

Sir Tom McKillop, the former chairman of RBS, has written to John McFall, the committee’s chairman, insisting that Myners was told the full value of Goodwin’s £703,000-a-year pension.

Michael Fallon, deputy chairman of the committee, said: “If the letter contradicts what Lord Myners told the committee then it could be very serious for him.”

threaded
22nd March 2009, 08:31
Socialist supremo in shady savings steps shoker!

Cyberman
22nd March 2009, 11:56
Do as I say and not as i do !!! :laugh

Sysman
22nd March 2009, 15:41
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/banking_and_finance/article5950498.ece

Myners, financial services secretary to the Treasury and former chairman of the Guardian Media Group, was awarded the majority of the share options at an exercise price of $16.20 a share in August 2003, a year after he helped to start the company.

The Guardian Media Group is owned by a trust (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Trust), which apparently doesn't pay tax either.

minestrone
22nd March 2009, 15:47
The government does not want big business corporation tax, we get enough from public sector PAYE to run the country, we top the rest up with borrowing.

TykeMerc
22nd March 2009, 16:07
I'm not at all surprised by this, it's the sort of thing that MP's from all parties are involved in.

If it had been the Tories or Lib Dems in power instead of Labour then odds are there would have been a similar story.

AtW
22nd March 2009, 16:11
The Guardian Media Group is owned by a trust (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Trust), which apparently doesn't pay tax either.

Their job is not to deal with tax avoidance/evasion (unlike that minister), plus their trust is a non-profit and the fact that their newspaper is exposing tax scams like with Barclays.

IMO any half serious newspaper should have zero tax on a reasonable amount of profits in order to encourage investment into this industry as it is essential to keeping Govt and others in check.

minestrone
22nd March 2009, 16:22
I wonder how much money the country would gain if all IT contractors fell into line with IR35? I wonder how much money and how many tax men chase IT contractors down under IR35 'rules'? It would make an interesting comparison to how much the Government's bank RBS make from Tax avoidance and how many are working on reclaiming that tax sum.

Cyberman
22nd March 2009, 16:35
The government does not want big business corporation tax, we get enough from public sector PAYE to run the country, we top the rest up with borrowing.


I take it that that is a joke bearing in mind that public sector wages come from the taxes paid in the private sector. Without a private sector, all funds would have to be borrowed to finance the parasitic public sector. This is something that socialists just do not seem to understand. :tired

Cyberman
22nd March 2009, 16:39
I'm not at all surprised by this, it's the sort of thing that MP's from all parties are involved in.

If it had been the Tories or Lib Dems in power instead of Labour then odds are there would have been a similar story.



That's the problem with you ignorant people. You just do not understand the obvious differences between the parties, and that is why we are now in the complete economic mess that we are now in. :ohwell

minestrone
22nd March 2009, 16:43
I take it that that is a joke bearing in mind that public sector wages come from the taxes paid in the private sector. Without a private sector, all funds would have to be borrowed to finance the parasitic public sector. This is something that socialists just do not seem to understand. :tired

Stand down cybertory, it was a joke.

I was speaking with my Mother (retired teacher) earlier today and the topic of public sector pensions came up, she said that her teacher's pension are not from a fund but paid with current teacher's contributions. My first thought was Ponzi scheme, she then said that older teachers always demand that class sizes get reduced so more teachers get jobs to fund the pension.

threaded
22nd March 2009, 16:46
I wonder how much money the country would gain if all IT contractors fell into line with IR35? I wonder how much money and how many tax men chase IT contractors down under IR35 'rules'? It would make an interesting comparison to how much the Government's bank RBS make from Tax avoidance and how many are working on reclaiming that tax sum.

IIRC small business', 1 or 2 man bands, corner shops, etc. etc., the tax actually costs significantly more to collect than it takes. And that's before you figure in the cost of 'compliance'.

I can well imagine the amount spent on chasing IR35 is substantially more than the amount they deem all contractors should pay in tax anyway.

This might well sound quite daft to people like us; as an engineer you'd be tempted to say, why bother even taxing these people if the losses are greater than the gains? Well, the point is, in simplistic terms, not that they want the tax, they just don't want you to have the money.

Cyberman
22nd March 2009, 16:55
Stand down cybertory, it was a joke.

I was speaking with my Mother (retired teacher) earlier today and the topic of public sector pensions came up, she said that her teacher's pension are not from a fund but paid with current teacher's contributions. My first thought was Ponzi scheme, she then said that older teachers always demand that class sizes get reduced so more teachers get jobs to fund the pension.



The real problem with public sector pensions is that they are mostly unfunded with regard to future requirements. The fact that most private sector schemes have now closed to new members bears out this point and it is a major scandal that HMG simply ignores the costs in the hope that the Tories will tackle the problem and thus reap the wrath of the unions rather than taking the flak themselves, for a problem largely of their own making. :rolleyes:

Cyberman
22nd March 2009, 17:01
This might well sound quite daft to people like us; as an engineer you'd be tempted to say, why bother even taxing these people if the losses are greater than the gains? Well, the point is, in simplistic terms, not that they want the tax, they just don't want you to have the money.



It's just socialist spite and hypocrisy as we can tell by their own selfish acts in thieving off of the taxpayer with regard to second homes etc. At least we earn our own money !! :rolleyes:

minestrone
22nd March 2009, 17:02
The real problem with public sector pensions is that they are mostly unfunded with regard to future requirements. The fact that most private sector schemes have now closed to new members bears out this point and it is a major scandal that HMG simply ignores the costs in the hope that the Tories will tackle the problem and thus reap the wrath of the unions rather than taking the flak themselves, for a problem largely of their own making. :rolleyes:

Why is it you continually regurgitate common knowledge and think it is some outstanding bit of insightful social commentary?

Doggy Styles
22nd March 2009, 19:05
I'm not at all surprised by this, it's the sort of thing that MP's from all parties are involved in.

If it had been the Tories or Lib Dems in power instead of Labour then odds are there would have been a similar story.I doubt it. The issue here is the hypocrisy. Have the tories who use tax havens ever tried to close them down for everyone else?

TykeMerc
22nd March 2009, 21:50
I doubt it. The issue here is the hypocrisy. Have the tories who use tax havens ever tried to close them down for everyone else?

I clearly recall an interview with Michael Hesseltine where he admitted that a major stepping stone to his first million was late or absurdly late payment of invoices, this was at the time when the Tories were considering measures to ensure prompt payment.
"Do as I say and not as I do" is an approach of all politicians irrespective of their party affiliation. Classic examples being expenses rules, licensing hours and smoking laws that differ immensely from those outside the Palace of Westminster.

I realised a long time ago that all politicians are corrupt and hypocritical, their party affiliation makes naff all difference to how bent they are.

Doggy Styles
22nd March 2009, 22:20
I clearly recall an interview with Michael Hesseltine where he admitted that a major stepping stone to his first million was late or absurdly late payment of invoices, this was at the time when the Tories were considering measures to ensure prompt payment.
"Do as I say and not as I do" is an approach of all politicians irrespective of their party affiliation. Classic examples being expenses rules, licensing hours and smoking laws that differ immensely from those outside the Palace of Westminster.

I realised a long time ago that all politicians are corrupt and hypocritical, their party affiliation makes naff all difference to how bent they are.I take that as a no then, they haven't.

TykeMerc
23rd March 2009, 00:29
I take that as a no then, they haven't.

In that very specific case it's probably a no, but in the overall context of the thread hypocrisy and corrupt behaviour isn't party specific.

Members of all parties jam their snouts in the trough whether in power or not, the ones in power just get to the trough earlier and deeper than the rest.

AlfredJPruffock
23rd March 2009, 10:10
In that very specific case it's probably a no, but in the overall context of the thread hypocrisy and corrupt behaviour isn't party specific.

Members of all parties jam their snouts in the trough whether in power or not, the ones in power just get to the trough earlier and deeper than the rest.


"Now we find that the man charged with getting City institutions to pay all their tax is in fact an expert in how to avoid tax. The government has put a fox in charge of the chicken coop.”

Ah - but you're wrong there - hes not a Fox - he's a Piggy ... he ha a snout after all.

Did anybody really ever think that they were anything else but self-serving Piggies ?


Have you see the Little Piggies ?
Crawling in the Dirt
Always have clean shirts
Just to Eat their bacon

Ruprect
23rd March 2009, 10:45
This might sound like a basic statement :) but isn't someone who know hows to play the system the sort of person that could potentally have the most effect in attempting to change it? A bit like the US military employing those who manage to hack it to close the vunerabilities?

Coalman
23rd March 2009, 11:10
This might sound like a basic statement :) but isn't someone who know hows to play the system the sort of person that could potentally have the most effect in attempting to change it? A bit like the US military employing those who manage to hack it to close the vunerabilities?


You bugger - I was just about to say the same thing.
Poacher turned gate keeper sounds like a good idea to me in this instance.