In Brief

Britain’s richest man in £4bn tax row

Vocal Brexiteer Sir Jim Ratcliffe sparked a huge political row after moving to Monaco

Britain’s richest man is planning to avoid up to £4bn in tax after moving his fortune to Monaco, the Sunday Times has revealed.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who was knighted last year for services to business, has been working with the accountant PwC on a tax minimisation plan that “would see him and senior executives Andy Currie and John Reece legally share between £1bn and £10bn tax-free, depriving the Treasury of between £400m and £4bn”, says the paper.

While such labyrinthine tax schemes are not uncommon, Radcliffe’s decision has sparked a huge political row.

The Manchester-born self-made entrepreneur has been a vocal supporter of Brexit and has drawn much public ire by deciding to move his base of operations to tax-free Monaco just as Britain prepares to leave the EU.

It comes a month after Sir James Dyson, another high-profile Brexit supporter, announced he was moving his headquarters to Singapore.

Last week, Ratcliffe slammed the EU over expensive regulations and “stupid” green taxes he claims are choking Europe’s chemicals industry.

In an open letter to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Ratcliffe warned Europe is “no longer competitive” as a result of its strict energy and labour laws, which he claims are the most expensive in the world.

Ineos, the chemical company he founded in 1998, has an annual turnover of around £45 billion but “has previously benefited from government help, receiving a £230m loan in 2014 to build a new facility to import shale gas”, notes the Daily Mail.

Lib Dem leader, Sir Vince Cable, described Ratcliffe’s plan to deprive HMRC of billions in tax as “deeply cynical”, adding: “The idea that we should be dishing out knighthoods to people who have no commitment to this country is rather shameful.”

Meanwhile, Meg Hillier, the Labour chairwoman of the public accounts committee, said Ratcliffe was in effect “sticking two fingers up” at the country that had honoured him.

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