In the never ending corrupt ‘old boys network’ it seems the subject of making even more money is at the forefront of their tiny minds. Supposed Labour party members Blair and Mandelson are doing very nicely under the Coalition government, seeing massive rises in their wealth.
The following is from The Telegraph newspaper, 6th January 2013
Lord Mandelson warned Ed Miliband last week that he and the shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, had yet to prove that they could be trusted on the economy. The former Labour cabinet minister and his mentor, Tony Blair, are, however, flourishing under the Conservative-led Government.
Mandrake can disclose that profits at one of Mandelson’s firms have risen by almost 60 per cent in the past year, while those at one of Blair’s have tripled.
Newly published accounts for Windrush Ventures Limited, part of a complex web of the former prime minister’s companies, show an increase in profits from £1.1million in 2011 to £3.6million last year.
Tony Blair says the profit “is being held in the company for re-investment in expanding the business”. A spokesman adds: “There is a total of £909,000 payable in corporation tax on the group profit.”
The company’s turnover increased by a third, from £12million to £16million, although, in the directors’ report, Catherine Rimmer, a former Number 10 aide, says only that the Windrush group has “traded satisfactorily”.
It is thought that the fees for Blair’s government advisory consultancy are channelled through Windrush Ventures while a separate company, Firerush Ventures, is responsible for money generated by Tony Blair Associates, which acts for private businesses.
The Government Advisory Practice is run out of Blair’s Mayfair headquarters and offers advice and manpower to governments around the world based on the delivery unit set up by Blair in Downing Street.
In November, The Sunday Telegraph disclosed that the Government Advisory Practice had secured a contract worth almost £4million a year in Brazil to advise the state government of São Paulo. Blair disputes the figure.
The accounts for a second firm in the Windrush group of companies, Windrush Ventures No.1 Limited, show that Blair loaned £1.2million to the company, which has now been paid back, plus interest in excess of £50,000 at a rate of 5.5 per cent.
The latest accounts for Mandelson’s company Willbury show accumulated profits of £587,000, up from £374,000 in 2011. The peer is a co-director of the firm, into which he pays his outside earnings such as fees for after-dinner speaking. The other co-director is his boyfriend, Reinaldo Avila da Silva.
In November, Mandrake reported that Mandelson, who memorably once declared that he was “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich”, had been quietly appointed as the new chairman of Lazard International, an arm of the investment bank Lazard.
The previous chairman, Ken Costa, left Lazard International to join the Church of England. The respected City grandee was appointed as the head of a committee given the task of reconnecting “the financial with the ethical”.
Mandelson’s secretive international business consultancy, Global Counsel, built up assets of almost £600,000 in its first year of trading. Under restrictions imposed on the peer by Whitehall watchdogs, he was banned from lobbying ministers and civil servants after leaving government, but there are no restrictions on his work overseas.
The former Labour business secretary, who was twice forced to resign as a Cabinet minister, has developed close links with the rulers of oil-rich Kazakhstan and recently spoke at two events organised by the Kazakh investment company Samruk-Kazyna.
Global Counsel, which is managed by the peer’s loyal lieutenant Benjamin Wegg-Prosser, had income and earnings of £574,000.
The start-up costs for the consultancy, which is based in Knightsbridge, appear to have come from the advertising and public relations giant WPP Group, which has a minority stake. WPP was founded by the former business secretary’s friend Sir Martin Sorrell, who remains its chief executive.
Global Counsel is a Limited Liability Partnership, which permits Mandelson to publish limited information about it. The members of the partnership are listed as Wegg-Prosser and WPP.
From March, Mandelson will be forced to disclose the companies that he advises via Global Counsel, after a tightening of House of Lords transparency rules. The source of all payments to peers through a company they own or control must now be declared, closing a loophole that Mandelson had used to remain silent about companies he had advised through Global Counsel.
Peers working as consultants were told to identify clients last year, but the former “spin doctor” to Tony Blair described himself as an employee of a “strategic advice” rather than “political” consultancy.
The Lords committee for Privileges and Conduct said it had now closed the loophole. A spokesman for Mandelson said he had always followed the guidelines and “will continue to do so”.
He has also made shrewd property investments. In 1997, he was living in a one-bedroom flat worth £250,000. Last year, he and Avila da Silva moved into an £8million home in north London.