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“Minister Sacked Over Tax Row”

“Minister Sacked Over Tax Row”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak SACKS MINISTER Nadhim Zahawi over a tax dispute after a “serious breach.”

Rishi Sunak has dismissed NADHIM Zahawi.

The Prime Minister told the Tory chairman in a letter that it is “clear that there has been a serious breach of the Ministerial Code”.

He stated: “When I was elected Prime Minister last year, I promised that the government I lead would be characterized by integrity, professionalism, and accountability at all levels.

“That is why, in light of new information about your financial arrangements and declarations that has come to light in recent days, I have asked Sir Laurie Magnus, the independent adviser on ministers’ interests, to conduct a thorough investigation into this matter.

“You agreed and promised to fully cooperate with the investigation.

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“Following the completion of the independent adviser’s investigation, the findings of which he has shared with us both, it is clear that a serious violation of the ministerial code has occurred.

“As a result, I have informed you of my decision to remove you from His Majesty’s Government.”

Mr. Zahawi, 55, was embroiled in a tax dispute while serving as Chancellor of the United Kingdom.

HMRC issued him a £4.8 million bill, including a million-pound penalty for his offshore tax arrangements.

It was one of the largest settlements reached by tax officials last year.

“In any given year, £1m would be a large sum for basic tax avoidance by an individual,” a source said.

“Most amounts are in the £100,000s, so nearly £5 million is an extraordinary amount.”

For several days, the PM and his government had faced questions about the dispute, with mounting pressure on Mr. Zahawi to step down.

After Whitehall officials contacted counterparts at the HMRC, he was denied a knighthood in the New Year’s honors list.

Mr. Zahawi, who is worth more than £100m, insisted that any tax mistakes were “careless and not deliberate error”.

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The dispute revolves around the tax bill resulting from the sale of shares in YouGov, the polling firm he co-founded, worth an estimated £27 million.

The question was whether the mega-rich MP avoided paying taxes by using an offshore company.

Balshore Investments, a Gibraltar-registered family trust, held a stake worth more than £20 million but sold it by 2018.

Mr. Zahawi, who ran for the Conservative leadership last year, has stated that he was not a beneficiary of the trust, but records show that money owed to YouGov was partially repaid from Balshore dividends.

According to Tax Policy, Balshore’s sale of YouGov shares should have resulted in a capital gains tax of around £3.7 million.

Michael Gove stated shortly after Mr. Sunak’s quick decision, which came after reports that he was “livid” with his Cabinet colleague for failing to mention paying the tax penalty when he was appointed in October, that it should not define Government.

“Because someone commits a lapse or a sin, that should not automatically be taken as an opportunity to damn an entire organization or a way of working,” said the Levelling Up Secretary.

He was asked about his colleague’s departure on the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg program.

When asked about several Tory politicians “trying to follow their own set of rules,” Mr. Gove said, “There will always be people who fall short, whether it’s in politics or other parts of public life, or professional life, or in any area.”

According to sources, the Prime Minister is unlikely to appoint a new Conservative chairman by the end of Sunday.

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The Liberal Democrats have demanded that Nadhim Zahawi resigns as an MP while they seek an independent investigation into the affair.

Daisy Cooper, deputy leader, stated: “Rishi Sunak’s first 100 days in office have been marred by scandals and sleaze from the Conservative Party.

“There are still serious questions about what Sunak knew about Zahawi’s tax affairs when he appointed him.

“We require an independent investigation to establish the facts and hold the Prime Minister accountable.

“Given that this was a serious violation of the ministerial code, Nadhim Zahawi must also do the right thing and resign as a member of parliament.

“He has demonstrated that he is unfit for Cabinet service and unfit to serve the people of Stratford-upon-Avon.”