Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. UK Politics
4 April 2016

Lord Ashcroft denies links to Panama Papers firm

Following the release of the Panama Papers, a spokesman for the former deputy chairman of the Tory party has denied that he had "done business" with Mossack Fonseca.

By Stephanie Boland

Lord Ashcroft has denied any involvement with Mossack Fonseca, the company at the heart of the “Panama Papers”.

Described as an “unprecedented” leak, the papers constitute some 11.5 million files from the fourth biggest offshore law firm in the world, which the Guardian says “show the myriad ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes”.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists alleges that Belize Corporation Services, a subsidiary of Ashcroft’s BCB Holdings, “began using Mossack Fonseca to provide shell corporations for its clients in 2006 when Ashcroft was in the U.K House of Lords”.

In 2006, Belize Bank approached Mossack Fonseca about “doing some business together.” According to an email sent in November 2013, Belize Bank International established a new company whose owners were the Panama firm’s founders, Jurgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca and partner Christopher Zollinger. The new firm was called M.F. & Co. (Belize) Limited and cooperated with BCS in creating companies and acting as registered agents in Belize.

Writing on behalf of the former Tory deputy chairman and Conservative peer, Lord Ashcroft’s spokesperson Alan Kilkenny told the ICIJ that it is “entirely false” that Lord Ashcroft had “either personally, or through a corporate entity in some way connected to him . . . ‘partnered’ or ‘done business’ with Mossack Foncesa”. He added:

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

“These allegations are completely untrue, and the events as described never happened. The records upon which you claim to rely for those allegations either do not exist or have been falsified”

Ashcroft has previously faced claims of legal tax avoidance after the Guardian reported allegations that he had used offshore holdings in Belize to avoid paying VAT on opinion polls he commissioned for the Conservative party.

Using offshore companies is not illegal in itself, and there are legitimate uses for offshore companies.