Barclay brothers have paid no corporation tax on the Ritz for 17 years, reveals BBC's Panorama

17 December 2012 by
Barclay brothers have paid no corporation tax on the Ritz for 17 years, reveals BBC's Panorama

London's five-star Ritz hotel had not paid corporation tax for 17 years, according to a report by the BBC's Panorama programme which will be screened this evening.

An investigation into the financial affairs of the hotel's owners, Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, will show that no corporation tax has been paid since the brothers bought the hotels in 1995.

It is alleged that the 135-bedroom hotel, which runs profitably, has used a series of legal tax relief schemes to ensure it has no liability to pay the tax.

In response, the brothers said that they have not run their UK companies since they retired to Monaco more than 20 years ago.

The Panorama programme will highlight that the Ritz and the Barclay brothers other companies, the Daily Telegraph and Littlewoods, are all operated by offshore trusts. Littlewoods is currently in dispute with HM Revenue & Customs, after winning a £472m VAT rebate plus interest. Bought by the brothers in 2002, the company is now demanding a further £1b from the government in compound interest via the courts.

The Barclay brothers bought the Ritz hotel in 1995 for £75m through their company Ellerman Investments and went on to undertake a £50m restoration of the property.

The Ritz is due to make a statement about the Panorama programme later today.

Panorama: The Tax HavenTwins will be screened tonight on BBC One at 8.30pm. The BBC's Panorama programme analysed the accounts of the hotel bought by the brothers in 1995.

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By Janet Harmer

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