Blair has a complex web of structures involving 12 different legal entities handling the unprecedented millions he is receiving since he stepped down from office in 2007.Cry havoc and let slip the accountants of war ! Tally-ho !
So mystifying are the former prime minister's financial structures – which involve highly specialised limited partnerships and parallel companies – that the Guardian today launches an open invitation to tax specialists and accountants to attempt to explain the motivation behind such structures. We have published the Companies House documents and other legal papers regarding the structure of the partnerships at guardian.co.uk and invite expert comment via our site at guardian.co.uk/politics/series/blair-mystery.
There is no suggestion Blair is doing anything illegal. But he refuses to explain the purpose of the secretive partnerships.
UPDATE - Tax Research Blog thinks there's a loophole which means detailed accounts don't have to be publically filed, if I understand correctly.
The limited liability partnership is tax transparent. If it had Tony Blair as a member he would pay tax at the UK highest income tax rate. So two companies are put in his place as members, and because of the loophole in the limited partnership accounting regulations this is acceptable: it does not change the fact that the limited partnership will not have to file accounts.
And then the two companies are owned by nominees to hide the Blair involvement – it’s just a pity one set of accounts had to give it away that he was the beneficial owner or we might still be unaware of all this.
So what did Tony want? Just a bit of secrecy and his profits sheltered at corporate tax rates seems the superficial answer.
But hang on – this structure came at some price, and has some cost to run – five figures a year with a first digit of more than one I suspect. So why do that? Because the entity at the top of the pile – Windrush Ventures No 3 Limited Partnership now has what most people want from a secrecy jurisdiction – complete secrecy and lower tax than might otherwise be expected, and all onshore.
So there is an obvious question outstanding still. Just what is it that Tony is so keen to hide that he’ll go to this length and this cost to do so?