Dermot Desmond at one time held a majority interest in Execujet Aviation Group (EAG) which solicited brokerage fees from its insurers of £920,000. A leaked memo is instructive:
“By having the monies paid into the Isle of Man entity EAG [Execujet Aviation Group] are not required to pay Swiss tax on the income of around 22%.”
According to the leaked emails, that cash was funnelled straight from the Isle of Man back into Switzerland, apparently tax free, on instructions from Execujet executives in Switzerland.
It should be noted that there is no smoking gun linking Desmond with this tax artifice. This switch from Switzerland to the Isle of Man yielded a tax advantage of £202,400. One assumes this was an annual arrangement.
Mark Daly from BBC Scotland was the lead investigator on this narrative and a slew of other narratives apropos leaked memos from offshore tax havens. These memos are collectively known as The Paradise Papers. Mr Desmond responded with the following missive:
There would appear to be an agenda at BBC Scotland to tar Celtic with the same toxic tax-evading brush as the company formerly known as Rangers Football Club (RFC). A Moral Equivalence if you will.
Mr Desmond’s question as to the team Daly supports is rhetorical. Mark Daly is a Hun of some renown. However he is not as bitter as the Director of BBC Scotland, Donalda MacKinnon. Let’s put this in layman’s language that cannot be misconstrued:
There is a hierarchy of Huns at BBC Scotland. There is a causal link between this hierarchy and a selective recruitment policy that mimicked the ‘No Catholics’ policy at the former RFC.
If one kicks with the wrong foot as it were, any aspirations for an executive role at BBC Scotland will soon be dashed on the rocks of WATP expediency. This is not to say that a couple of ‘taig‘ journalists will occasionally slip through their sectarian net, but they operate under a Protestant glass ceiling.
Not convinced? Compare and contrast how BBC Scotland rolled out the red carpet to Graeme Souness and the doorstepping of Desmond. Souness was given a £30,000 EBT bung by Rangers for buying their players. The Taylor Commission accused him of transfer irregularities. The thug, who could play a bit, has long been on the take.
Compare and contrast Desmond’s doorstepping with the number of pundits with EBT’s taking the licence payers coin at BBC Scotland.
Has Dave King ever been doorstepped by BBC Scotland. He should be. His aviation subterfuge in 2007 led all the way to The South African Supreme Court of Appeal. The following is taken from the court transcript:
“A Falcon 900B executive jet has been languishing at the Dassault maintenance facility at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France, since 3 April 2003. The respondent, the Commissioner for the SA Revenue Services, wishes to have the Falcon (with registration number ZC-DAV) sold and the proceeds kept in trust pending the finalisation of an action instituted by the Commissioner against one David Cunningham King and a number of corporate entities. The Commissioner contends that King and a company of his, Ben Nevis Holdings Ltd, have a substantial income tax liability and that the other defendants were, and are, being used by King to conceal his assets. (King was assessed to tax for more than R900 million and Ben Nevis for more than R1 400 million as long ago as February 2002.) One of these companies is Carmel Trading Co Ltd, the present appellant, and the only entity opposed to the sale of the Falcon.
The Falcon has always been and still is registered in South Africa with the local civil aviation authorities in the name of Hawker Air Services (Pty) Ltd (‘HAS’), a company liquidated by order of this Court on 31 March 2006. The holding company of HAS was Metlika Trading Ltd. HAS was an equal partner with Hawker Management (Pty) Ltd (‘Manco’) in a partnership known as Hawker Aviation Services Partnership and the partnership was the beneficial owner of the Falcon. However, Rand Merchant Bank (‘RMB’) is said to have been an undisclosed partner holding a 99.8 per cent interest in the Falcon. The Commissioner has an additional VAT related claim against both HAS and the partnership of some R73 million.”
King, the beneficial owner of Carmel Trading Company, was attempting to make a case that the jet was not within his gift. It’s instructive to note that King used his jet as collateral at Rand Merchant Bank. The unanimous findings of five Supreme Court judges continued:
“On 3 September 2002, Hartzenberg J issued a preservation and anti-dissipation order in relation to the Falcon. Such an order, which interdicts a respondent from disposing of or dissipating assets, is granted in respect of a respondent’s property to which the applicant can lay no special claim. To obtain the order the applicant has to satisfy the court that the respondent is wasting or secreting assets with the intention of defeating the claims of creditors. Importantly, the order does not create a preference for the applicant to the property interdicted.
But on 5 September 2002 and in spite of the order Carmel ‘took over’ the interests of RMB and Manco. Carmel’s attitude was that since it was not bound by the order it could do so. Under normal circumstances such a taking over would have had the effect of putting an end to the existing partnership and creating a new one. In a later judgment on 18 February 2003, Hartzenberg J extended the preservation and anti- dissipation order and ordered Carmel to return the Falcon to South Africa.2 (The Falcon had previously been flown out of the country for fear of an attachment by the Commissioner.) He held, in the course of his judgment that the sale of the interests in the Falcon to Carmel was ‘a contrived transaction, in fraudem legis, to by-pass the preservation order’ and that Carmel was but a tool of King and under his direct control.”
Career criminal King had engaged in a blatant fraud. Colour me surprised. However King followed this up with some perjury:
“The Commissioner (of SARS) earlier had sought an order implementing the order to return the Falcon to South Africa pending the finalisation of the said appeal. This had been refused, in part because of a perjured affidavit filed on Carmel’s behalf that the Falcon was safely stored and protected in a hangar at Le Bourget. Another reason was that the aviation authorities had grounded the Falcon on 3 April 2003.
The Falcon remained put at Le Bourget and this led to a contempt application against, amongst others, King, HAS and Carmel. King, conveniently, had resigned as director of HAS and this, according to Botha J (who heard the contempt application), meant that he could not be held liable for the breach of the order by HAS. After the dismissal of the contempt proceedings King was reinstated as the sole director of HAS. In any event, since the respondent parties involved ‘displayed a willingness to cooperate in bringing about the return of the Falcon to South Africa’, Botha J held that in consequence a committal would be inappropriate. He made an order that would ‘hopefully have the effect of bringing the Falcon back’. It did not. Metlika, who was supposed to provide the finance for the return of the Falcon, withdrew its financial support; Carmel refused to make any funds available for returning the Falcon; and Carmel refused to give consent to the sheriff to return the Falcon to South Africa.”
Note the use of a perjured affidavit and King’s corporate shenanigans. Are you paying attention Lord Bannantyne? King thinks nothing of lying in an affidavit. So what did King do next. He attempted to register the jet in Mauritius. The High Court stepped in to put an end to this attempt to stop SARS disposing of King’s asset. As to the value of King’s attempted fraud and the exchange rate at the time, circa £20m would not be far off the mark:
“At the time of the preservation order the value of the Falcon was in the vicinity of R200 million. The Commissioner for SARS also alleged that King’s apparent attitude is that he must at all cost prevent the Falcon from being brought under the control of the court in the hope that something may happen which will make the Falcon or its value available to him in a foreign country. And, concluded the Commissioner, failing this King is ‘patently prepared to see the value of the Falcon lost rather than being utilised to pay’ the Commissioner. These allegations have not been controverted.”
Concluding remarks included the following gem:
” Carmel’s first problem is that the Falcon is not Carmel’s property. Carmel may have had a proprietary interest in the Falcon in its capacity as partner in the partnership that was the beneficial owner of the Falcon. However, as I have pointed out, the ‘taking over’ of Manco and RMB’s partnership interest was fraudulent and Carmel cannot rely on a simulated and fraudulent agreement. Carmel relied on a preservation order issued by a Crown Court in England prohibiting Carmel of disposing the Falcon. A sale by the sheriff, said Carmel, would amount to a breach of that order. It is not surprising that, although this was the main defence on the papers, counsel did not press the non sequitur.”
The appeal is dismissed with costs, including the costs of two counsel.
Let’s look at the Moral Equivalence through the prism of aviation. When considering Desmond there is no suggestion of breaking the law. When considering King, we have fraud and a perjured affidavit.
Does anyone recall BBC Scotland doorstepping King in 2007 while he was a director of RFC Plc? Of course not. King is ‘one of the people.‘ The same people who run BBC Scotland.
If I were of a Celtic disposition I might be minded to write to Tony Hall in London requesting a root and branch clearout of ‘the people’ at BBC Scotland. I would also consider witholding any licence fees until assurances on Editorial Control were forthcoming.