Tycoons who flee to tax havens may be stripped of their knighthoods

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who was knighted for his services to business and investment, moved to Monaco soon after getting the honour

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who was knighted for his services to business and investment, moved to Monaco soon after getting the honour

Wealthy Britons with honours from the Queen could have them taken away if they move offshore to slash their UK tax bills, it was claimed today.

The UK’s honours committee is said to have created a ‘Ratcliffe clause’ to claw back knighthoods after the row caused by petrochemicals billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe moving to a European tax haven.

The magnate, Britain’s richest man with a £21billion fortune, was knighted in 2018 after he shifted the headquarters of his company Ineos from Geneva to London two years earlier – but he has since relocated to Monaco where he would save millions in tax.

Today a joint investigation by SourceMaterial and Tortoise claimed that his decision may lead to people losing knighthoods.

A source said, according to The Times: ‘He came back to Britain and everyone said this was great because he was one of the biggest self-made entrepreneurs.

‘Then when he b****red off I personally was incandescent. If we’d known that, he wouldn’t have got it’.

The founder and chief executive of petrochemicals company Ineos, 68, has moved from Hampshire to the tax-free sovereign city state on the Med.

The Hampshire 11 super yacht belonging to billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, which is now believed to be moored in Monaco's yacht-lined harbour

The Hampshire 11 super yacht belonging to billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, which is now believed to be moored in Monaco’s yacht-lined harbour

Ratcliffe's chemical company Ineos, which has an annual turnover of around £45billion, employs more than 18,500 people

Ratcliffe’s chemical company Ineos, which has an annual turnover of around £45billion, employs more than 18,500 people

People who live in Monaco for at least 183 days a year do not pay any income or property taxes. In the UK, meanwhile, the highest tax rate is 45 per cent on income above £150,000-a-year.

Ratcliffe was the UK’s third highest individual taxpayer and forked out £110million in 2017-18, according to the Sunday Times tax list.

Sir Jim isn’t the first Briton to make the move. He follows Topshop boss Phillip Green and his wife Tina; Simon and David Reuben; Matalan boss John Hargreaves; and Lewis Hamilton.

The Brexiteer recorded his official place of residence as Monaco when he updated his details as Director of private jet company Hampshire Aviations on Companies House.

In May last year Ratcliffe came under fire when he furloughed almost 800 members of staff from his luxury hotel groups.

In 2018 the chemical company founder is reported to have attempted to buy Chelsea Football Club from owner Roman Abramovich, but nothing went ahead as he was unwilling to pay the Russian owner’s valuation of the club.

Ratcliffe, who owns 60 per cent of Ineos, has seen his personal fortune increase from an estimated £9.5bn in January 2019 to £17.5bn today, according to the Bloomberg billionaires index.

An aerial images of Sir Jim's home in Hampshire. He is reportedly set to quit the United Kingdom in a bid to save billions in tax

An aerial images of Sir Jim’s home in Hampshire. He is reportedly set to quit the United Kingdom in a bid to save billions in tax

In a statement, a spokesperson for Ineos said: ‘We don’t comment on the personal details of our directors and employees.’

Sir Jim, who is the son of a joiner, grew up in a council house, now owns 60 per cent of Ineos and is thought to worth around £21.05 billion

Sir Jim, who is the son of a joiner, grew up in a council house, now owns 60 per cent of Ineos and is thought to worth around £21.05 billion

A Cabinet Office spokesman told The Times: ‘The claims made about the honours forfeiture procedure are not true. Any new or existing forfeiture policy is considered first by the independent forfeiture committee, and then the advisory [policy-making] committee.’ 

One of the most flamboyant ‘toys’ in Sir Jim’s personal empire is his superyacht which features its own wine cellar, tennis court, football pitch and helipad.

He spent his earliest years until the age of ten in a council house on Dunkerley Avenue in Failsworth, a small town between Manchester and Oldham.

His father was a joiner, his mother had an office job working in accounts.  

At ten years old, Sir Jim moved with his family to Yorkshire, and he went to Beverley Grammar School and lived in Hull up to the age of 18.

The Brexiteer got a 2:1 in chemical engineering from the University of Birmingham in 1974 and, after for working for BP in the summer holidays, was offered a permanent job – only to be sacked within three days.  

He eventually got a job with Courtaulds, the Coventry-based fabric and chemical manufacturer where he stayed into his mid-30s before moving into venture capital.

It was only in 1998 that he founded Ineos, which has an annual turnover of £45billion and employs more than 18,500 people at 181 sites across 22 countries.

Its products are used to clean water, make toothpaste, manufacture antibiotics, insulate homes and package food. 

Sir Jim has made expeditions to the North and South Poles, as well as a three-month-long motorbike trek in South Africa.

The billionaire also founded a charity Go Run for Fun, encouraging thousands of children aged between five and ten, to get active by creating celebrity-driven events.

He has two sons with his first wife and a daughter with his second, reportedly having homes in Chelsea and Hampshire. 

Source

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