An Isle of Man Firm Faces Tax Controversy Along with Arron Banks

The Isle of Man is known as one of the locations that offshore companies flock to in order to reduce the taxes they pay. Recently, one of the firms on the Isle of Man, Rock Holdings Limited, began being under investigation. The National Crime Agency is working on this investigation at the request of the Electoral Commission.

The Investigation

The specific tax controversy regarding Rock Holdings Limited is related to spending irregularities that took place during the EU’s referendum campaign. Businessman Arron Banks controls the company, which was the source of as much as 8 million pounds of illegal funding for the Leave.US campaign group from Banks. This illegal funding was also used for five other campaign groups in 2016, all of which were pro-Brexit.

The Laws that Were Potentially Broken

According to British electoral law, any donors to the various EU referendum campaigns must be companies or individuals registered in either the UK or in Gibraltar. The Electoral Commission does not feel that Banks complied with this legal requirement because he has a complex web made up of numerous companies across various countries.

This web of companies is used by Banks to reduce his tax commitment as well as to mask political and business activities. Despite the accusations, Banks insists that he did comply with the rules in question. According to Banks, all of those millions of pounds in donations were either from one of Banks’ British companies or his own money. Even so, the Electoral Commission has reasonable grounds to question whether this business on the Isle of Man was actually the source of the funds. If this is the case, the donation would be illegal.

The Laws Relate to Transparency

One of the biggest reasons that political donations must not involve offshore companies is due to the lack of transparency. This is the same reason that most governments discourage offshore banks; the lack of transparency regarding funds that draws in many high-net-worth individuals in the first place.

A Closer Look at the Company

The company in question does indeed have a lack of transparency, just like the UK government is concerned about. The documents which are publicly available reveal almost no information. All that is clear is that the company incorporated in 2005, well before Banks showed any political interest. There is limited information throughout the years, indicating several instances of Rock Holdings utilizing offshore holdings. In the past, Banks has strongly stated that he broke no laws, only pushed the boundaries of regulations in a clever way.


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