Following revelations of the Guardian-led scandal over the weekend, Sunak announced on Monday that an independent ethics adviser would investigate the tax affairs of Nadhim Zahavi, the leader of the Conservative Party and former Chancellor of the Exchequer. Minister of Finance and one of the four “Big State Departments”.
Hours later on Monday, Britain’s commissioner for public appointments announced that his office would investigate the appointment of Richard Sharpe as chairman of the BBC and would seek Johnson’s approval for the job.
This study comes later The Sunday Times reported on this Sharp’s key role was helping Johnson find someone to act as guarantor for a personal loan of up to $1 million that Johnson sought while he was prime minister.
In addition to these important issues, Sunak himself was fined by the police last week for not wearing clothes. his seat belt while sharing a video on social media in the backseat of a government vehicle.
The seat belt offense caused a public outcry in part because it was Sunak’s second fixed-term offence. He had previously been fined for attending a gathering at 10 Downing Street, breaching the strict lockdown rules in place at the time. That party was supposed to celebrate Johnson’s birthday.
It emerged last week that Zahavi managed to negotiate an overdue tax payment with HM Revenue and Customs, Britain’s Inland Revenue Service, during his time as chancellor to settle millions of pounds in unpaid tax liabilities, plus a hefty fine.
Clean government campaigners and leaders of the opposition Labor Party quickly called for Zahavi to resign or for Sunak to fire him.
“This pathetic attempt to pass the buck is simply not good enough,” said Labor deputy leader Angela Rayner, who pointed out that Zahavi was the chancellor of the exchequer responsible for spending tax revenue while negotiating a truce with tax collectors.
“You don’t need an ethics consultant to tell you that’s unacceptable,” Rayner said.
According to the GuardianZahawi owed taxes on capital gains following the sale of shares in YouGov, the polling company he co-founded before becoming an MP.
The newspaper reports that Zahavi paid back taxes and a 30 percent penalty, totaling $6 million.
The 56-year-old politician, who was born in Iraq and fled to Britain with his family as a child, described the late payment as a “careless and unintentional” mistake.
Likewise, BBC chairman Sharp stressed that he had no direct involvement in any credit for Johnson.
In an email obtained by the BBC on Monday (which the BBC later published), Sharp said: “I was not involved in taking out the loan or arranging the guarantee and I did not arrange any financing.”
according to Sunday Times, Sharp helped sort out a loan guarantee for Johnson in 2020. According to the Times, the surety was Sam Blyth, a Canadian businessman and Johnson’s distant cousin. Sharp, 56, a former Goldman Sachs banker and major Tory donor, was appointed chairman of the BBC in January 2021.
Sharp confirmed to the BBC that he introduced Blyth to Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, the government’s most senior civil servant and senior adviser to the prime minister, because “Sam wanted to support Boris Johnson.” Blyth, Sharp and Johnson also dined together at Chequers, the prime minister’s official country estate, but Sharp denied that Johnson’s finances were discussed.
Scottish National MP John Nicholson told the House of Commons that the case was “a bit of a banana republic”. This was reported by Sky News.
Nicholson complained that when he was scrutinized by Parliament for the top job at the BBC, Sharp neglected to tell the panel “his role in putting the man in a huge debt”.
On Monday, Johnson defended Sharp as a “great and wise man.”
“But he doesn’t know anything about my personal finances,” Johnson said. “I can tell you with 100 percent certainty.”
Speaking to Sky News, Johnson called the case “complete nonsense – absolute nonsense”.
“This is another example of the BBC losing its footing,” he said.
For his part, the BBC chairman called the issue “sadly a distraction for the organization”.
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