Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tattonfilarious & Kammtastic

Flicking through THIS article by Brian Friedman on how to make MPs' lives more taxing, I noticed a comment by former MP Neil Hamilton, which told of his experience having the Inland Revenue combing through his affairs. I emailed him to ask for more details. This was his response....

After I lost my seat over 'cash for questions' the Revenue mounted an investigation of my tax affairs from 1987-97. The Special Compliance Office doesn't normally look at cases unless there is suspected tax fraud amounting to £250k but they decided to look at me because of all the publicity. That was fair enough in the circumstances.

They left no stone unturned, armed with an authority from me to demand info about my finances from anyone they liked. After a 3 year investigation, I came out squeaky clean. They accepted I hadn't received any illicit cash, so I had no extra tax to pay. Oh, and all my expenses over 10 years passed muster too!

I tried to get the Telegraph to print a letter about this two weeks ago. It was spiked by their lawyers because that nice Mr Fayed might sue them for suggesting the libel jury was wrong.

Whose judgment is the more reliable - the Revenue's elite fraudbusters or 12 Joe Soaps dragged from the street (one of whom couldn't read the oath and another who played noughts and crosses when he got bored with the case)?

I've been having a run-in with Oliver Kamm also on The Times. You might like to have a look at our exchange on the thread ' Neil Hamilton writes'. Kamm is Martin Bell's nephew and wrote all Bell's material when he stood against me, as I now discover.

It's a good opportunity for me to put the record straight - it's ironic that some of my most sanctimonious detractors are now in the headlights themselves...
The Kamm thread is unintentionally hilarious with all sorts of old wars being fought.

20 comments:

Michael Heaver said...

Interesting stuff. Before my time though I imagine the current scandal makes such past episodes of sleaze seem like small beans.

J H Holloway said...

Genius. I never believed Fayed's claims for a minute.

I also pointed out out on a Guardian thread a few weeks back that Hamilton was found by the trial judge to have taken 'at least £25K' which was not dismimilar to amount Barbara Follett took for her private security...

I think Labour will lose out in the next 12 months partly because people feel so conned by the New Labour mega spin surrounding the Hamilton issue and so-called Tory sleaze in general.

When Labour is wiped out next summer, I think Campbell and co will regret overplaying their hand.

Generalfeldmarschall said...

Kamm's comments are somewhat ad hominem

johnny dodgy-geezer said...

As you say, all sorts of old wars being fought...

Stronghold Barricades said...

Very interesting

I certainly wasn't made aware of the "facts" by the media

Are you suggesting something similar will happen with the Allowances scandal with the passage of time?

Anonymous said...

It is unsurprising the IR found no evidence of tax evasion, as it was Fayed's CASH that Hamilton took! That's the beauty of cash - no tax declarations. Ask any builder, plumber, etc.: pay cash and the job will be cheaper. Back then, the troughing was much less, as GB & TB had not yet corrupted the expenses system, but Hamilton was, even then, one of the worst.

The Grim Reaper said...

Teh wars of teh Interwebz blogs lol.

This is the sort of stuff I'll be spending hours at a time telling my grandchildren about.

Alan Douglas said...

My sympathies are entirely with ANYONE accused of ANYTHING by MF.

Especially the Duke of Edinburgh and Neil Hamilton.

There is a certain class of people who treat the truth as a commodity to be promoted or equally easily dismissed, purely to suit their own ends.

Alan Douglas

Generalfeldmarschall said...

@Anonymous 8:01 pm

You make an assumption about guilt .....

The Grim Reaper said...

Alan Douglas said "There is a certain class of people who treat the truth as a commodity to be promoted or equally easily dismissed, purely to suit their own ends."

We normally call them "politicians".

dearieme said...

My memory is that at the time Hamilton admitted that he'd been sleazy but denied the brown envelopes story. Since the only evidence against him came from Fayed's creatures, I was surprised that he was convicted.

Glyn H said...

I have absolutely no connection with Neil Hamilton, have never met him, or his wife or anyone connected with him. By happenstance I have posted on your site twice in the last three months saying he was traduced.

Bell was, I believe, a New Labour stooge, groomed by Campbell.

Deliciously he stood for only one parliament.

Do we really want the 2nd Mrs Wilcox (who nicked Desmond from the first Mrs Wilcox) to regenerate her career at taxpayers’ expense this time round?

Paul Pinfield said...

I have never accepted the Neil Hamilton was guilty as charged.

A friend of mine was a Fayed bodyguard at the time of the trial. He believed it was a straight forward fit up to repay some perceived slight against Fayed.

Looks like he was right...

Jabba the Cat said...

Given that Al Fayed has form inhabiting a fantasy world as seen during the Diana conspiracy marathon, it is reasonable to draw the conclusion that Mr Hamilton was on the receiving end of similar time space vortex suction treatment from the oily Egyptian shopkeeper, who, hahaha, still has not received his UK passport and hopefully never will.

trevorsden said...

That the Telegraph will not print this is yet another reason never to buy it again.

Its behaviour now is becoming more than disreputable and MPs are being utterly crass in not immediately putting all their unexpurgated accounts into the public domain.

The bottom line is there were no 'brown envelopes' and it was all a put up job relying on mass hysteria and grossly biased and partial political reporting fuelling and fanning a witch hunt.

Was justice served? Was democracy served? Do any of you dummies out there see any modern parallels?

gordon-bennett said...

Here's the full story of how Neil Hamilton was fitted up by the grauniad and the beeb.

http://www.guardianlies.com/

Allen Esterson said...

Anonymous writes:
>It is unsurprising the IR found no evidence of tax evasion, as it was Fayed's CASH that Hamilton took! That's the beauty of cash - no tax declarations.<

So, Anonymous, roughly how much cash did Hamilton take? You'd be hard put to give a figure as Fayed's accounts of the amount of cash given (and the mode of payment) varied considerably over time. As Hamilton said in his statement to the Downey parliamentary enquiry, "In a rational world, a mass of inconsistent detail is bound to undermine the main thrust of an allegation - especially if it confirms a reputation for untruthfulness on the part of the author." Yet the Guardian's massive campaign on Fayed's allegations was entirely dependent on Fayed's word, as former editor Alan Rusbridger has acknowledged. In the final days leading up to the pending 1997 Greer & Hamilton vs Guardian libel case the Guardian was so desperate about the fact that they had no evidence for the "cash for questions" allegations other than Fayed's stories that, in Rusbridger's words, "Our lawyers asked with increasing fervour [sic] for evidence from the secretaries..." Failing that, "we were prepared to put [Fayed] in the box as a witness of truth on the subject of payments in cash and kind to Hamilton and Greer..."

DespairingLiberal said...

This is good, thanks for publishing it Iain. I've often thought with hindsight that Neil Hamilton was wronged, regardless of political views. I have a strong personal dislike of a legal and public system that promotes the interests of someone like Fayed above those of an elected MP and allows him (Fayed) to get away with so much.

For many years, Private Eye repeatedly demanded to know why the Revenue had apparently made a special deal with Fayed that effectively meant he paid little or no tax either as an individual or for Harrods, even though he was totally obviously a UK resident. I don't know if this arrangement has ended, but, interestingly, it was done by the very same office that dealt with MPs tax affairs!

It is difficult not to conclude that some very unpleasant things are happening in our beloved HMRC.

My word verification for this one was "jurist"!!

Gongdonkey said...

Hamilton did have a bit of form for freebies in the Paris hotel (allegedly), but stand him for a seat in Parliament now and - even if he was as "bent" as alleged- he'd be more honest than some of these current toe-rags ...... and at least his wife would be good for a laugh and good chat over a glass of el Vino Collapso !

Frugal Dougal said...

I'm with Gongdonkey. Hamilton perhaps deservers a second chance.

That the Telegaph feels strong enough to take on the Prime Minister, the Speakers and a good chink of the nation's MP's but is scared of Al Fayed says something about the sinister strength of this man and the agenda he represents.

How long must we tolerate a fanatical Islamist who calls members of our Royal Family murderers and has British forces personnel in uniform ejected from his tawdry little corner-shop?