LABOUR MP Margaret Hodge has posted an open letter to Nadhim Zahawi, raising concerns over his suitability for the role of UK Chancellor. 

Hodge, who is chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption and Responsible Tax stated that reports that the National Crime Agency investigated Zahawi’s business affairs, along with other issues, raises a “legitimate question” over his “suitability” for the role of Chancellor.

In the open letter posted on Twitter, Hodge put forth numerous questions to the recently appointed Chancellor.

These include asking him:

  • If he or anyone in his immediate family had ever held non-dom status.
  • Whether his “close ties” to two offshore companies have been used for tax evasion purposes.
  • If he holds equities in these two offshore companies, and if so why these aren’t declared in the MP’s register of interests. Or alternatively, if his financial relationship to these two companies are maintained through trusts.
  • If his £100 million property portfolio was acquired through the facilitation of offshore companies or service firms based in tax havens. 
  • Whether he paid the requisite taxes, including stamp duty, when purchasing these properties and if he has fully declared all of his properties in the MP’s register of interests.
  • Why he formerly help £20 million of YouGov (the company he co-founded) stock in a Gibraltar based company, and if his use of offshore structures here was for the purpose of tax evasion. 
  • Whether he still holds “significant” equity in YouGov through offshore arrangements, and whether he has ever received dividends from this or other offshore companies, and if so, whether he paid dividends tax in the UK.

Hodge admitted that her line of questioning was “rather personal”, however stated that it was in the public interest as it would be “wildly inappropriate” for any Chancellor to have utilised offshore structures for tax avoidance. 

She stated that this would mean “one rule for those in power, and another for everyone else”.

It was revealed recently that Zahawi’s finances were secretly investigated by the National Crime Agency, however these did not lead to any action taken against Zahawi and there was no suggestion of any wrongdoing.

As an MP, Zahawi came under scrutiny for a second job he held at an oil company where he earned £1000 per hour – banking £1.3 million. Due to a Parliamentary loophole, excess earnings beyond this were able to be kept hidden.

Nadhim Zahawi was recently promoted to Chancellor following Sunak’s resignation. He has now also launched a bid to be the next leader of the Conservative party, and is pegged to be a strong contender for the role.