A private aid contractor paid receiving hundreds of millions from the Tory government is paying a tax haven firm to run its employee ownership scheme.
Consultancy firm Adam Smith International is said to have won more than £450 million in government aid contracts since 2011. Despite being banned from bidding for UK aid contracts over allegations of impropriety and excessive profit-making in 2017, it is again earning millions from the government after being reinstated last year.
Now The Red Roar can reveal that ownership of the business has been transferred to financial advisers Darren Hocquard and David Hopkins, working for a firm named Fiduchi based in the tax haven of Jersey.
A spokesperson for Adam Smith International told The Red Roar that the pair hold all shares in the business as trustees of its employee ownership trust, and receive a management fee for their services. The business’s switch to an employee ownership trust structure is reported to have earned the company’s top brass more than £1.5 million each.
Both men work for Fiduchi, a Jersey-based firm offering financial advice to the super-rich. The company’s website boasts of “working with high net worth individuals and family groups who are moving the Island to take advantage of Jersey’s High Value Resident scheme” and “developing tax efficient yacht ownership structures”. One of the men, Darren Hocquard, is also named in the Panama Papers in connection with a number of Jersey-based businesses.
Adam Smith International claim they chose to do business with Fiduchi because it “offers competitive charging rates for such services which would be difficult to match elsewhere”, and say that the inclusion of Hocquard’s name in the Panama Papers “is not unusual”.
It will raise further questions over Adam Smith International’s suitability for government work, with Labour promising to review the use of private sector aid contracts and tackle the use of tax havens.