A statement by Lord Ashcroft

The so-called ‘Paradise Papers’

The BBC has suggested that I may have ignored rules in connection with the Punta Gorda Trust.  (Please note the deliberate inclusion by Panorama of the word ‘may’.)  In fact, I can state unequivocally that I have not ignored rules, and that I do not control the Punta Gorda Trust, and never have done.  Throughout the Trust’s existence, I have never known the identity of any of the Trustees, let alone had any dealings with them.  At no point has it been suggested directly to me, or through others, that I have taken any inappropriate action.  No professional Trustee has ever resigned because of anything I may have done.

As to the matter of my tax status, my position was  made public in a statement which I made in March 2010 and to which a link is provided here.  Following the change in the law later that year, a change which my statement anticipated, for each of the remaining five years during which I sat in the House of Lords, I was deemed tax resident and domiciled.  This is all publicly available information and nothing was produced yesterday by the BBC which suggests different.

Finally, my pursuit by a camera crew at the Conservative Party Conference.

During the last eight years there have been two earlier Panorama programmes dedicated to my affairs, which have been hugely distracting and which cost me a great deal of money in the answering of endless and pointless questions.  I have been obliged to correct Panorama in relation to many fundamental research errors, from which had been constructed false, and entirely groundless, hypotheses.

Both of the Panorama broadcasts were unashamedly one-sided, and encouraged viewers to draw conclusions which were contradicted by facts of which the Panorama team was aware.  As a result, I wrote to the Director General saying that in future I was simply not prepared to deal with Panorama.

This time around, therefore, I was absolutely determined not to receive any further communication from Panorama.  I made this abundantly clear.  I was equally determined, therefore, not to fall victim to their ambush, hence the rather erratic and undignified withdrawal.

Now I have seen what little Panorama has managed to dredge up from this voluminous cache of stolen data, I am even more certain that my stance was correct.

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