Fury as newly honored billionaire brothers who bought Asda for £ 7 billion head to Jersey tax haven
The billionaire brothers who bought Asda for £ 7 billion faced questions last night over their decision to transfer ownership of the British supermarket to a controversial tax haven.
Under the deal struck by Mohsen and Zober Issa, who were both made from the central bank on the Queen’s birthday party list, the grocery will be legally controlled by a parent company based in Jersey.
Experts said yesterday that there are many benefits to working from dependency on the Crown, which imposes a zero corporate tax rate.
Mohsen, left, and Zuber, right, Issa, the billionaire brothers behind a £ 7 billion bid to buy Asda, will transfer ownership of the British supermarket to Jersey
This also means that the parent company does not have to disclose its accounts publicly, and the Essas family will not pay any capital gains tax if they decide to sell a lion at any time.
But the move could be controversial after Jersey was accused of being “with the worst” tax havens in the world.
The jurisdiction was ranked seventh in the world on a list of the most “aggressive” havens in a report by the Tax Justice Network last year, after the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda.
Haven: The Issa brothers’ share of their oil front yard business, EG Group, is already owned through a Jersey-based company
Labor MP Margaret Hodge, former chair of the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, said yesterday, “Why on earth’s grounds choose Asda’s parent company not to incorporate in the UK?
The answer should be that there is a lax regulatory approach in Jersey that facilitates, at best, tax evasion.
“Having your business in a UK tax haven simply means that no one can trust that you pay a reasonable amount of tax on the profits you earn from your business in the UK.”
ESAS’s stake in EG Group’s front yard gasoline company is owned by a Jersey-based company.
One of the main advantages of this structure is that the company can acquire assets by borrowing large amounts of money, then sell those assets at a higher rate in the future but not pay capital gains tax, said George Turner, Director of Tax Watch UK. If that’s their intent, it’s a gaping loop that HM Revenue & Customs really needs to close.
A spokesperson for the brothers insisted that Asda “will remain a tax resident in the UK and pay all due taxes”.