UK ‘non-doms’ and their British offshore firms
May 22 (Reuters) – “Non-domiciled” status lets British residents use offshore trusts to keep profits made on British businesses out of reach of the tax authority. Here are some of the non doms who have held assets offshore:
South-Africa born Abe Jaffe built automobile dealership Currie Motors, which operates under the slogan “nice people to do business with,” into an operation with turnover of 170 million pounds ($266 million at current rates) before he died in 2009. Currie Motors and his British property interests were held by a Dutch holding company, Curfin Holdings BV, controlled by a family trust. The value of Currie Motors and the property assets at the time of his death was around 124 million pounds, filings show. A spokesman said the structure was established in the late 1970s “primarily for asset protection in an uncertain South African political environment” and added the family paid all the appropriate taxes.
A period living abroad and a U.S. father gave London-born club owner Richard Caring non-dom status, he told a newspaper in February. He bought UK property through companies in tax havens that made profits of over 60 million pounds when the assets were resold. A spokesman said: “Any offshore income that has been made has been declared to the authorities… all of his business deals are totally within the law.”
Malawi-born Moni Varma founded rice producer Veetee Rice in London in 1987. He told Reuters the company is worth “much more than” 200 million pounds today. In the early 1990s he transferred ownership of the group to a Bahamas company that was owned by a family trust. Varma said the transfer was to facilitate investment from partners and that he didn’t see the arrangement as tax avoidance. Nonetheless, he acknowledged the structure would let him or his heirs avoid some taxes if the business was sold. He also said that if he sold a stake in the business, the proceeds would go to the trust which may use them to invest in property or other assets in Britain, although he may also remit some money for personal purposes, in which case tax would be payable.
India-born metals trader Raj Bagri founded Metdist Group in London in 1970 and through it, bought shares in the London Metal Exchange. Shortly before the exchange was sold in 2012, generating a $290 million profit for Metdist, he shifted ownership of Metdist to Malta. Bagri, a former member of the House of Lords, resigned from the upper house in 2010 when non doms were barred from sitting. He declined to comment.
Chichester-born Michael Ashcroft gave up his “non-dom” status in 2010 so he could keep his Lords membership. In the decade before, he held interests worth over 50 million pounds in two UK businesses – British Car Auctions and Mavinwood Plc. These were held via Swiss and British Virgin Island entities