The UK’s new mission focused PM has just delivered a sacking to her KamiKwazi Chancellor, who was attempting to crash the economy in flames as he went down with it.
Phew! Except that her new ‘safe pair of hands’ at the cockpit in No 11 is a man who admits he broke the country’s finance laws as recently as 2018, for which he was investigated for money laundering.
The facts, as widely reported, were that the extremely rich MP achieved a “bulk discount” for purchasing no less than 7 flats in a development spearheaded in his local constituency by a friendly developer, Nick Roach, who had donated handsomely to his office.
Unfortunately, neither was the favourable purchase declared prior to the matter being exposed, which Hunt later acknowledged to be a sorrowful oversight. It was also unfortunate that only his wife was recorded as the owner rather than himself and further that he failed to comply with the Companies Act brought in by his own government to counter money laundering by registering that he held more than a 25% control at Companies House.
Each of the flats in question was worth up to a million pounds, agents have reported, although both Hunt and Roach have so far refused to disclose how much the total price tag was for Mr Hunt post-discount.
The then health secretary blamed his accountant the Guardian reported:
The spokeswoman blamed Hunt’s accountant for mistakes in the Companies House documents. “These were honest administrative mistakes, which have already been rectified,” she said. “Jeremy’s accountant made an error in the Companies House filing, which was a genuine oversight. [The Guardian April 2018]
In the end The Mail reported that the senior and experienced politician had admitted to breaking money laundering laws during this rental venture owing to his failure to properly register the interest at Companies House.
The offence in question could result in two years jail under the terms of the law. However, the failings having been rectified and the ownership owned up to following all the publicity in this particular case, former prime minister Teresa May announced the matter closed.
One is left to wonder why Liz Truss decided nonetheless to appoint as her chief watch-keeper over the economy a man who had got into such a tangle with the law over financial matters just two years ago?
Perhaps it was in accordance with the theory that it is best to put in charge someone who knows exactly what the crooks are up to – a poacher turned gamekeeper in order to protect the economy from the ravages of super-wealthy people who seek to avoid paying their proper contributions to society?
The matter leaves two glaring questions: first is the man now in charge of rescuing the economy any more committed to a fair distribution of the burden of that effort than his predecessor and second is he sufficiently up to the job, given how easily he was caught after such previous negligence?
The multi-millionaire Hunt is plainly no egalitarian having backed the same policies of lowering the corporation and other taxes as Truss and Kwarteng during the leadership hustings in the summer and has plainly acted on these views by avoiding tax himself – illegally on his own admission.
As to his mental agility for the massive task ahead, it can only be described as troubling that Truss has promoted a man who apparently forgot the exact origins of his Asian born wife – describing her during a trip to China as being Japanese, when actually she’s Chinese.
The Japanese remain unpopular in China following the troubles of World War II. Right now in the UK, given the experience with KamiKwazi, the association is also best avoided.