Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tories Taking the Michael 2: Ashcroft "Finally Brought to Book?"

About flipping time too! The unreliable re-locator "Baron Belize" Michael Ashcroft "VC", was reluctantly raised to a Lordship - to oil the wheels of his Vulture Capitalist operation and open the floodgates to a donations spree. That was on the strict promise - from William Vague - that he'd come home and start paying taxes in Blighty.

But he may be finding his Vultures Coming Home to Roost.

The Sunday Mirror report that an official investigation is being launched into Lord Belize's donations - almost £4 Million, and more than £3 Million since 2005.

These monies are laundered, to use the vernacular, via a UK company named Bearwood Corporate Services Limited.

The Tories say that BCS is registered in the UK, which is one test of an eligible donor, and that it is trading, which is another. But they don't address the other issue. Which is that it's forbidden, as I understand it, for a person or entity that is eligible to act as an agent for one that is not.

Which does appear to be what is occurring in the case of Baron Belize and Prince Charming in respect of these cash donations.

There is also of course a substantial side dish to the potential feast of impropriety - even on the surface declared activity - which is the use of a concession on "travel costs" to allow foreign governments, registered entities, individuals to pay travel costs. Whatever it may say in the law and guidelines the purpose and spirit of this is to allow an overseas interest to pay travel costs for research visits and the like.

It is not intended to allow a rich man, or a rich man's company, or a government to donate travel costs on a massive level to an overseas political party, for travel that has nothing whatsoever to do with that person's legitimate interests. Baron Belize's Flying Lying airways has done just that, with the Tories forgetting to register much of it in a timely way, and deliberately and seriously understating the true value of it - presumably against the day when it might be clawed back - when they have got round to declaring it.

Searching here at LOL and in general for Bearwood, and Flying Lion will trawl a good haul of coverage for the Tories' under cover, overseas mega donor. Here is David Cameron squirming over Ashcroft from December 2007 when Baron belize was allegedly in the process of complying with his promise. 15 months ago. And here's some, and here's Dale speaking up for Ashcroft and Aitken, and here's UK Con Air exposed.

FOOTNOTE 20:38: Tim Montgomery's note at Conservative Home on Baron Belize is drawing some interesting comments. Others will have got all the relevant BCS Limited accounts and returns no doubt. Meanwhilst here is my own comment:

What would a company filing "small" accounts be doing giving away 20-30% of its maximum turnover and/or 1/3 to 1/2 of it's BS value if NOT acting as an agent for an offshore principal? NB Turnover, not profit.
Flying Lion is also obviously a shocking abuse of the concession on overseas donors funding travel costs. Intended to be funding travel costs to their own operations not to here, there and everywhere. A ramp.
Posted by: Chris Paul | February 22, 2009 at 20:36

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