The Lord In The Loo After "Panorama" Seizes on Paradise Papers

You may remember the "Panama Papers" from early 2016 - well now the big news is all about the "Paradise Papers." This is a major data leak of millions of files from "Bermudan law firm Appleby, a 119-year-old operation favoured by the global super-rich and big corporations." (Guardian UK).

That happens to include Michael Ashcroft, who, according to the Guardian UK, quote, "faces fresh questions over his offshore affairs after the Paradise Papers revealed a previously unknown trust sheltering his vast overseas wealth."

Of course, we in Belize know all too well about the Ashcroft Alliance's various shell companies and trusts - from Waterloo, to Dunkeld, to Sunshine, to Rocky Reef.for a while there it seemed they were running out of names when they came up with the devilish duo of "E-Com" and "Pillow Talk".

But, we're happy to know that with this latest offering of corporate cloak and dagger, the Ashcroft Alliance has kept it close to home: the centerpiece in this story is the Punta Gorda Trust, which is connected to the Cayo Foundation. A charming homegrown touch for a half a billion dollar trust.

When the BBC News Magazine Panorama tracked down Ashcroft, it seems he didn't want to talk about it:...

That happened last month at the Conservative party Conference in the UK.

Why this trust came to the attention of journalists is that as a Trustee, the law firm Appleby wasn't satisfied with its oversight of the trust. One of its attorneys wrote, quote:

"There have been very large sums of money involved and I am very concerned that there has been inadequate supervision of both transactions and distributions To put it bluntly, we seem to be told nothing, whereas we carry the responsibility of acting as trustee."

There is nothing illegal about the trust, but Ashcroft's tax status in the UK has been making news for decades there.

Channel 7

'Entered the loo, had a pee, exited' Lord Ashcroft DENIES hiding in the toilet to dodge BBC reporter asking about his finances
Tory donor Lord Ashcroft today denied allegations he hid in the toilet to avoid questions about his offshore investments - claiming he just needed 'a pee'. The former Conservative Party deputy chairman was filmed by a Panorama journalist after he was named in the controversial Paradise Papers. He can be heard repeatedly saying 'dear dear dear' as he is followed around last month's Tory conference before heading to the toilet. Last night Lord Ashcroft, who has an estimated fortune of �850million, faced a torrent of online abuse over the exchange and responded by repeating his words 'dear dear dear'. When asked if he was hiding from the journalist he said: 'No hiding..went in ...had a pee..and walked out'.

Lord Ashcroft used offshore trust to shelter wealth while Tory peer
Lord Ashcroft, one of the Conservative party's biggest donors, faces fresh questions over his offshore affairs after the Paradise Papers revealed a previously unknown trust sheltering his vast overseas wealth. Scores of emails and financial statements chart the inner workings of the Bermuda-based Punta Gorda Trust from its creation in 2000, just after he became a peer. The documents run until 2016, when the offshore law firm Appleby, which acted as trustee, terminated the relationship, a decision questioned at the time by Ashcroft's representatives. The value of the trust fluctuated, but a leaked financial statement recorded it as having assets of $450.4m (�341m) in 2006.

Paradise Papers: Lord Ashcroft faces questions over offshore investments
Conservative Party donor Lord Ashcroft faces more questions over his offshore investments after the Paradise Papers revealed a previously unknown offshore fund, and that he retained nom dom status for tax affairs despite pledging to become a permanent UK citizen. The peer, 71, who is one of the party's biggest donors and reportedly gave �500,000 towards its most recent campaign, is said to have given assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the Bermuda-based Punta Gorda Trust in 2000. The leaked documents suggest that, between 2000 and 2010, Lord Ashcroft received payments of around $200m (�150m) from his offshore trust in Bermuda. He continued to sit in the House of Lords and, as a "non-dom", he did not have to pay tax on these payments.

Paradise Papers: Lord Ashcroft 'retained his non dom status' while serving in the Lords
Multimillionaire Tory donor reportedly kept hundreds of millions of pounds in Bermuda-based offshore accounts. Lord Ashcroft, a major donor to the Conservatives and the party's former deputy chairman, reportedly retained his non-dom status while serving in the House of Lords, documents released as part of the Paradise Papers suggest. The revelation suggests the peer continued paying tax only on his UK earnings, against his previous promises and despite attempts by parliamentary authorities to make members of the House of Lords pay their full share of tax. When he was awarded a peerage in 2000, the businessman vowed to become a permanent UK resident and drop his non-dom status. However, in 2010 he was forced to admit that he was still a non-dom. Following the admission, new laws were introduced to force anyone who sits in Parliament to pay all British taxes.

Tory donor Ashcroft faces tax questions over control of offshore trust
Lord Ashcroft, the Conservatives' biggest donor, apparently avoided millions of pounds in tax by putting his money in an offshore haven. Leaked documents suggest that the former Tory treasurer retained some control of a trust that would be free from tax only if he had handed its running over to trustees. When allegations were put to him by a BBC reporter, he walked away saying: "Dear, dear, dear." The disclosure puts Lord Ashcroft, 71, at risk of an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs for a fortune in unpaid tax, BBC's Panorama claimed last night. It is likely to embarrass Theresa May because Lord Ashcroft has given more than �10 million to the Tories, including �500,000 to their latest campaign.