Labor is urging the next Tory leader to pledge to sack a Treasury minister who takes multiple salaries from companies linked to a notorious tax haven.
Richard Fuller, who was appointed in the final days of Boris Johnson’s post as Prime Minister, is paid £80,000 a year by financial firms – what the opposition describes as a ‘shocking conflict of interest’
The MP is used to advocating for “light” financial regulation and “deregulation” for financial services companies like his employers.
Yet in his new role as economic secretary to the Treasury, Mr. Fuller is in charge of financial regulation of companies like the ones he works for.
To make matters worse, one of his employers, Investcorp, is said to have poured money into spying technology in China, backing another company that builds surveillance systems that can track oppressed Uyghur Muslims.
The Independent contacted Mr. Fuller’s office, as well as the Treasury, to comment on the allegations, but did not receive a response.
The three companies that pay Mr Fuller’s wages, totaling £80,000, which are on Parliament’s register of interests, are ultimately owned by Investcorp. They are based in the North East of England but also incorporated in the Cayman Islands.
The MP, who represents North East Bedfordshire, has also received £35,000 in political donations since 2010 from the co-CEO of Investcorp.
Mr Fuller’s register of interests says he is paid £40,000 a year for working four hours a month as chairman of OpSec Security. As an advisory director of Investcorp Securities Ltd he is paid £20,000 a year for two hours a month, and as a director of Impero Solutions Ltd he is also paid £20,000 a year for two working hours per month.
Companies House data shows that their parent companies are based in the Cayman Islands and are all owned by Investcorp.
Mr. Fuller worked at Investcorp from 2000 to 2007 before becoming an MP, where he established their company of technology companies.
James Murray, Labour’s shadow financial secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘Workers and businesses in Britain work hard and pay their taxes. It is beyond reproach for a treasury minister to benefit from a business linked not only to tax evasion, but also to Chinese state-sponsored abuses against Uyghur Muslims.
“The government is seriously questioning why it ignored this shocking conflict of interest when it gave Richard Fuller responsibility for regulating financial services. Mr. Fuller urgently needs to clarify whether he has any holdings in offshore funds linked to Investcorp.”
Mr Murray added: ‘The current Chancellor – who has his own questionable links to tax havens – needs to show he has at least an ounce of integrity by sacking Richard Fuller now and thoroughly investigating those links.
“If he doesn’t, then all Tory leadership candidates must do the right thing and commit now to removing Fuller immediately if they win.”
Last week it was claimed that Nadhim Zahawi, the Chancellor and Mr Fuller’s Treasury boss, had avoided millions of pounds in tax with an offshore trust.
These claims related to a company called Balshore Investments, a Gibraltar-based company owned by a trust controlled by his parents.
Mr Zahawi promised to release his tax returns if he became prime minister, but was knocked out of the leadership race in the first round.
Mr Zahawi’s predecessor at No 10, Rishi Sunak, who topped the Tory leadership poll yesterday, also faced questions about his and his family’s tax affairs – particularly over the non-dom status of his wife.