independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Blair has €15.6m bank stash after 'bumper year'

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair who enjoyed a 'bumper year'. Photo: Reuters
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair who enjoyed a 'bumper year'. Photo: Reuters

TONY BLAIR has more than £13m (€15.6m) stashed in the bank following his most commercially successful year since quitting Downing Street in 2007.

The latest accounts for a network of companies used to run his growing business empire show that the former British prime minister's business interests around the world are booming.

Profits at one company alone, which he owns, hit almost £2m while shareholder funds on two businesses total £7m.

The accounts, for the 12 months to April 2013, lodged at Companies House last week, give the best indication yet of Mr Blair's earning power.

His asset-wealth, which includes a London townhouse, a country estate and several other properties, is estimated at £70m.

The latest accounts do not give a full picture of Mr Blair's assets but certainly suggest he has had a "bumper" year, according to one London City accountant who has analysed the figures.

Mr Blair administers his commercial empire through a complex series of companies and partnerships, headed by two businesses -- Windrush Ventures Limited and Firerush Ventures Limited.

The companies were set up by the former prime minister when he left office.

Through the companies, Mr Blair runs his global consultancies. It is understood that Windrush Ventures channels money for Mr Blair's Government Advisory Practice, which advises national and regional governments on how to implement policies and reforms in a model based on his time in Downing Street.

Firerush Ventures administers the funding for Tony Blair Associates, which advises companies and sovereign wealth funds.

The fullest picture comes from the accounts for Windrush Ventures Limited, which show it enjoyed a turnover of £14.9m for the 12 months to April 1, 2013 and a profit after tax of almost £2m, a rise of £650,000 on the previous year.

Cash in the bank and "in hand" totals £8.8m, up from £1.5m the previous year.

Windrush employs 35 people and has a total wage bill of close to £3m, almost £1m more than last year.

Mr Blair's staff earn an average of £86,000, while the company's highest paid director receives £273,000. The accounts show that Windrush paid corporation tax on its profits of £653,000.

Although the company generated turnover of almost £15m, it paid tax on only a fraction of that because £12.1m was in expenses for, office rents, travel and hotel bills for Mr Blair and his team.

The tax was paid out -- quite legitimately -- on only the company's profits.

Accounts for another of Mr Blair's linked companies, called Windrush Ventures No1 Limited, disclose that Mr Blair lent his own company £1.24m in 2012 at a commercial rate of 5.5 per cent.

The accounts show Mr Blair was repaid the loan in December 2012 "with applicable loan interest".

It is not clear why Mr Blair lent his own company the money but he earned interest on the deal of £75,000 in the course of the year.

Firerush Ventures Limited also enjoyed a bumper year.

It is a smaller company than Windrush and as a consequence is not required by law to give as much detail about the state of its finances.

But the accounts show cash at the bank and in hand totalling £4.6m, up from £1.2m the previous year, and shareholder funds worth £1.6m.

The two companies between them had cash of £13.4m and shareholder funds worth £7m.

Mr Blair is the ultimate owner of the businesses.

© Telegraph

Irish Independent

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