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Archive for March 3rd, 2010

Hat Tip to LadyBizBiz for alerting me to this great picture on MSN this morning.  She’s right… I just couldn’t help myself.

Britain at centre of extradition row over ex-Bosnian leader Ejup Ganic

The Times reports: ” British courts were at the centre of a bitter diplomatic battle last night as Serbian and Bosnian authorities fought for custody of a former Bosnian leader arrested at Heathrow. Ejup Ganic, 63, was detained on Monday after Serbia asked for his extradition on charges of killing wounded Bosnian Serb soldiers during the Balkan wars. Yesterday Bosnian authorities dismissed the arrest as a political stunt and vowed to ask Britain to extradite him to Sarajevo instead, setting the scene for an unprecedented legal struggle.”

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, given the Karadzic trial.  Israel is also concerned that some of their political leaders face arrest in Britain should they set foot in Britain. Are we going to see an escalation of countries arresting political leaders throughout the world?

Guido Fawkes, only this morning, is concerned as to where Tony Blair is in the world at the moment: Has Tony Gone Offshore?

Back in September Guido asked:

“When was the last time you saw Tony Blair in the UK? Billionaire’s yachts in the Med, sure, US TV chat shows, sure. Six-figure speaking engagements in the Far East, of course. “Peacemaking” in the Middle East, allegedly. Is he seen in the UK? No, not much.”

A tax issue? .. that would be ironic and ‘un-patriotic’.


Former MI6 officer charged with exposing spy techniques

The Times reports: “A former member of MI6 will appear in court today charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act by exposing spying techniques. Daniel Houghton, 25, from North London, is accused of disclosing a number of electronic files with articles about intelligence gathering methods at the Central Criminal Court, better known as the Old Bailey. He is also charged with stealing MI5 files containing similar information at the court between September 2007 and May last year.”

Lord Ashcroft: new demands for a full tax inquiry

The Guardian: Papers reveal Tories gave repeated promises over peer’s financial status

A  Lords committee has rejected a call for an inquiry on the grounds that it no jurisdiction over events occurring before 2000.

Revenue investigators were last night facing demands to launch an inquiry into the tax status of Lord Ashcroft, the billionaire businessman bankrolling the Conservative party, amid new questions about how he was allowed to break a promise to permanently base himself in the UK to secure a seat in the House of Lords.

As anger grew over Ashcroft’s admission that he has secretly remained a non-dom for the nine years he has sat in parliament, there were separate calls for inquiries into his nomination for a peerage in 2000 and his tax affairs.

Last night Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, called on the HMRC to review Ashcroft’s tax status in the UK. “There does seem to be a strong case for HMRC to investigate the potential abuse of non-dom status,” he said.

I’m with Cable on this one.  It does seem to me extraordinary that the Tories and Labour are quite happy to take money from non-dom businessmen, but that is not really the key issue here.  The key issue  is the rather more worrying one about ‘truth’ in terms of what Hague and Cameron actually knew compared to their public statements. Lord Ashcroft, turned down for a peerage initially because of his tax position appears to have promised unequivocally to regularise matters and then, hey presto, a ‘revision’ occurred with a senior civil servant to ‘interpret’ matters rather differently. Hague is on record as saying that the newly ennobled Lord Ashcroft’s peerage would cost him ‘tens of millions of pounds’ annually.  It appears that this is not the case.  A Freedom of Information request, it is suggested, should do the trick. I have no idea whether brrooms are available from the John lewis catalogue on expenses.

One assumes that Hague and Cameron have been telling the truth.  If that is the case, then they must have been rather surprised by Ashcroft’s admission the other morning that he is, after all, non-dom?  Tail wagging the dog or vice versa?  Cameron seemed to be rather keen to get the press to stop flogging the horse with a bit of deflection onto Labour non-doms and by trying to draw a line under the matter.  I don’t think this one is going to go away quickly and may well be an election issue not of tax or party financing, but one of truth, character, probity and suitability to govern?

And on that note, let me leave you (for the present) with this Cartoon from lawyer, artist and bon-viveur Charles Fincher …..

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