This morning I received an email tip-off about the status of 5th Avenue Partners, the company run by Michael Brown which donated £2.4 million to the LibDems last year. I have now checked it out with Companies House and I can reveal that the company is being struck off the Companies House register of UK companies.
More damagingly, Companies House is alleging that the company has never traded in the UK and they are in correspondence with the Inland Revenue on the matter. A letter was sent by the Registrar of Companies to the Inland Revenue on 17 July asking for a prompt reply. They are inquiring if the Inland Revenue has ever had any dealings with 5th Avenue Partners.
If the allegation that the company has never traded is proved to be true, the LibDems will be in serious trouble for having accepted a donation from a company which has no UK base.
Michael Brown has two UK companies, 5th Avenue Partners Limited (Co Reg 05073942) and 5th Avenue Partners (UK) Limited (co Reg 05360551). The first company was incorporated in the UK on 15 March 2004. It has never filed any accounts (due by October 2005) and it's Annual Return is three months overdue (due on 12 April 2006). All this information can be found on the Companies House website HERE. Companies House have written them the statutory three default letters and not received a reply. Within the next few weeks, once they have heard back from the Inland Revenue, the Registrar will petition for the company to be struck off by means of an advert in the London Gazette.
The second company was formed in February 2005. No accounts are overdue but their Annual Return should have been made by 10 March 2006 and is therefore 4 months overdue. Similarly, three default letters have been sent and have received no reply. An advert will shortly appear in the London Gazette petitioning for them to be struck off.
According to Companies House, although shareholders can make an application to do so, in this case it is the Registrar who is proposing to strike the Companies from the Register. The proposal will appear in the London Gazette and will be acted on if nobody objects within 3 months. The Registrar is entitled to do so if he determines that the company is not in business. What is unusual about thes companies is that they were only formed in 2004 and 2005, which is a remarkably short period of time for the Registrar to decide that they are not in business.
The reason he is contacting the Inland Revenue is to determine if the company has EVER been in business. The inference is that the Registrar has decided that the companies were probably never in business, and if so, under Electoral Commission rules, the company was never eligible to make a donation to the Lib Dems.
As some readers will know, I have written about this before. here's a quick reminder...
April 28 LibDem Donation Scandal Gets Worse HERE
April 26 The Questions Ming Must Answer HERE
April 24 Electoral Commision to Investigate LibDem Donation HERE
April 21 LibDems Face having to Pay Back Donation HERE
April 21 LibDem Donor Faces Fraid Charges HERE