Ashcroft – “dead horse pong gets worse”

Written By: - Date published: 9:22 pm, March 5th, 2010 - 15 comments
Categories: International, uk politics - Tags: , ,

Only days ago, David Cameron told British journalists they were “flogging a dead horse” when asking questions about Lord Ashcroft’s donations and tax status. You can watch him here. It wasn’t the happiest choice of words – this is what one British  journo thought.

Now fresh responses from Ashcroft’s friend William Hague and revelations from the Electoral Commission have raised still more questions about destruction of documents, tax avoidance, and offshore funding of the Conservative party.

The UK Electoral Commission found that Bearwood Corporate Services, the company Ashcroft used to make donations to the Conservative Party, was a lawful donor as it was registered in Britain. But the route by which it received the money it was able to donate appears to have originated in a company in Belize, where Ashcroft is “domiciled” so he doesn’t have to pay British tax on his income earned overseas.

The Commission’s clearance turned on the fine legal point as to whether the donor was the company Bearwood or the individual Ashcroft. The donations were referred to in  Conservative Party documentation as the “Ashcroft” donations, and the Conservative Party refused requests from the Commission to meet with it so the Commission could clarify who the Party thought wast the donor.

Ashcroft also advised the commission that records of the companies through which the money passed had been destroyed. This was done the day before the Information Commissioner released the correspondence between Hague, Ashcroft and Blair regarding assurances given when Ashcroft was “ennobled” that he would live in England and pay taxes there. Hague’s problem is that while he gave the assurances he would pay taxes, Ashcroft only said  that he would live there. Despite touring the world in Ashcroft’s private jet, Hague now says he only found out Ashcroft was not paying the promised tax “a few months ago”!

The ConservativeHome blog, which is now  part-owned by Ashcroft, hopes that the Commission’s decision has now finally put the matter to rest. We’ll see what the Sunday broadsheets say. I’m picking the verdict will be that the dead horse may be strictly lawful, but it still stinks. There will undoubtedly be more questions.

I’ll post later about some lessons for New Zealand’s upcoming review of electoral finance.

15 comments on “Ashcroft – “dead horse pong gets worse””

  1. BLiP 1

    Can’t say we weren’t warned.

  2. Why do the uber wealthy object to the payment of tax that will actually be used to improve the lives of their fellow (former) citizens?

    This obsession could be interpreted as indicative of mental illness, possibly obsessive compulsive disorder or maybe paranoia.

    Why does Ashcroft have so much power?

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1


      Why does Ashcroft have so much power?

      He knows how to manipulate people for his own benefit and, being rich, has access to the right people (ie, politicians) to manipulate.

  3. outofbed 3

    And what dirty dealings did he do with the Nats during the 08 election?

    • logie97 3.1

      particularly as “Smile and Wave” wasn’t even sure whether he should admit that he had met him when questioned by Fran … remember.

  4. Cnr Joe 4

    this pong of – wait for it – corruption has spread to N.Z.
    Our incredibly proud reputation as corruption free has been put on the block by these…these…
    this government. It doesn’t wash-off even when your soaking in it.

  5. Lord Michael Ashcroft the far Right Tory seems to be very interested in Aotearoa , and I wonder why. We still do not know why he had an overnight meeting with Key before the last election.After all this is the
    guy who for years dodged pay tax by residing in Belize and only returned to the UK to become a peer.Yet still makes large donations to Right-wing parties round the world.I wonder if the National Party has recieved any donation.
    He’s a shady character to say the least and he must have a very good reason to show such an interest in Aotearoa.My suspicious mind believes that his interest here is the ACC . we know that privatization is just around the corner ,Have a look at his business interests. Insurance is one of his main monetary interests.It all adds up to a sleazy type take over .

    • Rich 6.1

      That’s what I’m wondering. If it’s at all possible for Ashcroft to slush money to NACT, or to one of their satellites like the Business Roundtable, you can bet he did.

  6. quasimodo 7

    See this on Ashcrofts plans for an online media empire

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