Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Tax Havens: Outsource Company's Half Billion Transfer


A private outsourcing company who are in receipt of one of the highest government spends have channeled over half a billion pounds into an offshore tax haven.

The Pears family’s property empire began back in 1950 when the grandfather ran the humble business of three greengrocer stores in North London. Today however, they control Trillium Holdings which owns about a third of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) estate, including job centres, the pension service and child maintenance offices.

Trillium and its subsidiary companies - are responsible for a £3.2bn 20-year deal to manage and provide property services for the DWP offices.

This is where it gets complicated. The parent company of Trillium Holdings is owned by London Wall Outsourcing, which in turn is owned by London Wall Outsourcing Holdings Limited. This company is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. The ultimate controlling entity is the B Pears family trust in Bermuda.

Since 2008, London Wall Outsourcing accounts reveal that the vast sum of £666.7m  has been sent in dividends to its Virgin Island based parent.

The British Virgin Islands appeared in the news recently in dramatic fashion, after a massive leak of over 2 million emails and documents revealed a host of political leaders and wealthy individuals whose fortunes are stored in the tax haven.

The Pears family control a property empire valued at £6bn through a labyrinth of companies. Until her death in 1999, the matriarch Clarice Pears was one of the country’s richest women, with a fortune that surpassed that of the Queen. The Pears brother, Mark, Trevor and David, have an estimated wealth of £1.7bn, which ranks them at 38 on the Sunday Times Rich List.

One of the Pears brothers, Trevor, part-funded David Cameron’s leadership campaign in 2005 with two £10,000 payments. The Prime Minister has said tax havens and avoidance will be key part of the G8 summit in June this year, yet here we have his leadership being part-funded by a director of a company who are involved in tax havens.

In a rare interview given to the Telegraph, director Mark Pears said “We have got nothing to hide, but we are a private company”.

The business empire is run by the William Pears Group, which has been built over the last sixty years and encompasses residential property, offices and fund management. The latest accounts reveal the family company quadrupled their profit over the last year. One of the family’s property coups has been the purchase of a vast chunk of the DWP estate.

In 1998 under Blair, the then Department of Social Security transferred the management and ownership of its estate to Trillium, which had been set up by two entrepreneurs and was later bought by the property company Land Securities. The government obtained £250m for its estate and agreed a £2bn contract for serviced accommodation until 2018.

In December 2003, the Land Securities contract - known as the PRIME agreement extended to cover the Employment Service estate. The company bought the offices for £140m and agreed a £1.2bn deal to provide serviced offices. A NAO inquiry concluded that the deal was good value for the taxpayer and justified.

Six years later, Land Securities sold Trillium to the William Pears Group for £750m, which included the DWP estate and the government contracts. The changeover of more than 300 government offices to a company who’s ultimate ownership lies in an offshore company was not undertaken.

The DWP is paying about £464m a year for services to Trillium, but the company has also seen a steep increase in the value of the offices it now owns. Trillium,
who are advised by Conservative Peer Lord Griffths of Fforestfach, values its DWP estate at more than £1bn.

The group’s use of tax havens will be even more frustrating for the taxpayer given the fact that the company’s revenue is hugely bolstered by British public spending; a situation that looks set to significantly increase. In 2012, the government made an announcement that a new organisation to manage Defence property was to be formed, called the Defence Infrastructure Organisation. The new programme will see contracts of MOD facilities across England and Wales drawn up, worth up to £4.35bn and Telereal Trillium, who are a member of free market think tank Reform, have been short-listed as part of one of three consortia approved for making bids for the MOD estate contracts.



See Telereal Trillium Holdings Accounts (scroll to bottom to see link to London Wall)
See London Wall Outsourcing Accounts (scroll to bottom to see link to BVI and Bermuda)

2 comments:

  1. This is Tory privatisation. They're plundering our country & scarpering with the money to tax haven, we lose out every which way under Tory led exploitation and only they and their chums benefit. They tell us the that we need to reduce the deficit so as not to leave our kids in debt, but in stead they're degrading the opportunities for all of us. That's what happens under the Tories, that's what Thatcher did for us. She deregulated everything, virtually gave away our utilities, they're nearly all foreign owned now, telling us that privatisation is better. BUT REALLY, IS IT REALLY BETTER, for overseas shareholders, maybe, but not us.

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  2. The term tax mitigation is sometimes used,its original use was by tax advisers as an alternative to the pejorative term tax avoidance.
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