Boris Johnson’s controversial holiday in Spain came under renewed scrutiny today when it was revealed that the £25,000-a-week luxury estate on the Costa del Sol, where he resides, was linked to a string of tax evasion.
The Prime Minister has been on holiday at colleague Tory Zac Goldsmith’s lavish villa with his wife Carrie and young son Wilfred, where he has come to rest by painting in the hills above Marbella in southern Spain.
He had already been criticized for taking a break amid the fuel and supermarket crisis that engulfed the British.
But today the trip came under new attention when it turned out that the property is featured in the so-called ‘Pandora Papers’.
This is the name given to the infamous long-running leak of nearly 12 million documents revealing hidden wealth, tax avoidance and even money laundering by some of the world’s rich and powerful.
The documents show that the estate is in the hands of “an opaque offshore structure in multiple tax havens,” says The Guardian.
This structure apparently implies that the property is owned by a Maltese company which in turn is owned by companies in the Turks and Caicos Islands and managed by a wealth planning company based in Switzerland.
Boris Johnson has been on holiday at fellow Tory Zac Goldsmith’s lavish villa (pictured above) with his wife Carrie and young son Wilfred, where he has come to rest by painting in the hills above Marbella in southern Spain
The Prime Minister pictured with ex MP and Member of the House of Lord Zac Goldsmith in September 2019. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Goldsmith, who was promoted to Lords by Johnson
Mr Goldsmith, an ex-MP and now a member of the House of Lords, declined to discuss the details of the settlement, but the paper goes on to say that the Prime Minister is on holiday “at a property that appears to be held via a chain of companies in secret jurisdictions is likely to raise questions about its commitment to reforms designed to introduce transparency into offshore property ownership in the UK.”
There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Goldsmith, who was promoted to the Lords by Johnson, but the paper notes that the documents it has seen “raise questions as to whether Goldsmith holds valuable and income-generating assets offshore.”
The arrival of the prime minister and his family in Andalusia over the weekend had even sparked comments in the Spanish media about his decision to go on holiday while Britain is in the throes of fuel and food crises.
The Spanish TV station Canal 3 reported live from the estate this morning about the absence of the British Prime Minister.
While Mr Johnson insists he continues to work on solving Britain’s growing problems, he has been seen hanging out on the terrace of the luxury property with his hands behind his head and also painting.
Prior to Carrie’s move to No10, it was revealed that Mr and Mrs Johnson were relaxing by spending their evenings painting together, with some of their pieces hanging on the walls of her South London flat.
The pool at the villa in Marbella on the Costa del Sol. The documents show that the estate is in the hands of ‘an opaque offshore structure in multiple tax havens’
An outdoor seating area at the property in Marbella. The Prime Minister has come under criticism over the timing of his trip abroad amid Britain’s ongoing fuel and energy crisis
A living space in the property. Mr Goldsmith, an ex-MP and now a member of the House of Lords, declined to discuss the details of the settlement
The PM had sheltered from the 30-degree sun during the day, but emerged as the temperature dropped.
The prime minister has been criticized for the timing of his trip abroad amid Britain’s ongoing fuel and energy crisis, along with the publication of a scathing report exposing a series of failures ministers had made in tackling the crisis. coronavirus pandemic.
But No10 and government figures have defended his right to take a holiday this week, with Security Minister Damian Hinds saying it was “important for the whole country” that his political leader has time to shut down.
He has also been spotted working on his laptop in between periods of relaxation and is regularly updated on ongoing work to address current fuel and supply chain issues, his spokesperson said.
The Pandora Papers have named more than 100 billionaires, 29,000 offshore accounts, 30 current and former leaders – including Tony and Cherie Blair and the wife of Sir Philip Green earlier this month.
The estate is a short drive from the picturesque village of Benahavis and has its own helipad to ensure VIP holidaymakers can arrive and depart unseen
Carrie Johnson pictured with Mr Goldsmith (left, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid right, campaigning in 2017)
No10 and heads of government have defended his right to take a holiday this week, with Damian Hinds saying it was “important for the whole country” for his political leader to have time to drop out. Pictured: Boris and Carrie last took a family holiday with Wilfred in Scotland last year
It was revealed that Tony and Cherie Blair avoided paying £312,000 in stamp duty when they bought a £6.45 million London office.
The Blairs denied any wrongdoing after it was said they could save more than £300,000 in stamp duty when they bought the property by buying the offshore company that owned it.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for the couple said they had bought the property “normally through reputable agents” and not “should have been dragged into a story of ‘hidden’ secrets of prime ministers etc.”
It also emerged that Tina, wife of Sir Philip Green, had bought four properties in London with the help of an offshore company when BHS collapsed in 2016, including a £15million apartment in Mayfair.
Both Sir Philip and Lady Green, through their lawyers, declined to answer detailed questions from the BBC about the property splurges, suggesting these were private matters.