Nadhim Zahawi ‘under investigation by HM Revenue & Customs over his tax affairs’

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Nadhim Zahawi is “under investigation by HM Revenue & Customs into his tax affairs” after Downing Street officials “raised concerns” at Boris Johnson ahead of his appointment as chancellor.

Offshore tax experts ‘launched an investigation’ into the Tory leadership candidate’s finances after receiving information from the National Crime Agency (NCA) – known as the ‘UK version of the FBI’.

As a result of the NCA’s investigation in 2020, “no evidence was found that met the criteria for initiating criminal charges.”

Experts from the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) have also reportedly investigated the finances of the new Chancellor, reports The Independent.

Mr Zahawi, 55, has denied any wrongdoing and promised to co-operate fully with any questions from HMRC, following a report published in The Sunday Times.

A spokesperson told the newspaper: ‘All of Mr Zahawi’s financial interests have been properly and transparently disclosed.

“Mr. Zahawi is not aware of any official HMRC investigation. His taxes are all fully paid and up to date. It will provide full information to any queries HMRC has about its tax affairs.

A senior Whitehall source also told The Independent that the Treasury-controlled investigation which Mr Zahawi began carrying out just three days ago is currently “unresolved”.

HMRC told MailOnline they ‘cannot comment on identifiable taxpayers’.

The Prime Minister, Home Secretary Priti Patel and the Cabinet Office were all briefed on the inquiries before Mr Zahawi was appointed.

The investigation comes after officials in the Cabinet Office’s property and ethics team reportedly spoke to Boris Johnson about an HRMC ‘flag’ before he was appointed chancellor, The Observer reports.

Newly appointed Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi (pictured) is ‘under investigation’ by HM Revenue & Customs over his ‘tax affairs’ after a ‘flag’ was raised by officials at Boris Johnson

HMRC's offshore tax specialists have

Offshore tax experts at HMRC have ‘launched an investigation’ into the Tory leadership candidate’s finances after receiving information from the National Crime Agency (NCA) – known as the ‘UK version of the FBI’ (file image )

A source told the newspaper: ‘It is extraordinary that flags were raised ahead of Nadhim’s appointment by the Downing Street ownership team.

“These kinds of concerns would prevent someone from being awarded an MBE or OBE. The idea that he could be Chancellor or even Prime Minister is incredible”.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Under the Ministerial Code, ministers must ensure that no conflict arises, or could reasonably be perceived to arise, between their ministerial position and their private interests, financial or otherwise.

“The Chancellor followed the process set out in the Ministerial Code and complied with those requirements to the satisfaction of previous independent advisers.”

Meanwhile, Mr Zahawi kicked off his speech for the Tory leadership last night with a thinly veiled jab at rival Rishi Sunak, saying ‘we cannot tax our way to prosperity’.

He was previously education secretary, whom he succeeded Gavin Williamson last September.

Mr Zahawi appeared to take aim at the man he replaced as chancellor in dire circumstances last week by saying ‘the tax burden is too high’.

The comments will be seen as an attempt to woo Tory MPs who accuse Mr Sunak of trashing Tory low-tax credentials.

But the Mail on Sunday was told Mr Zahawi began distancing himself from his predecessor within 24 hours of his replacement.

Sources said Mr Zahawi told a Tory fundraising event on Wednesday that ‘being a Conservative chancellor with conservative values ​​means being the low tax party’.

Coincidentally, the new chancellor was speaking at the same location at the Carlton Club where a week earlier former Tory deputy whip Chris Pincher was accused of groping two men in an incident that ultimately led to Boris Johnson’s resignation.

Sources close to Mr Zahawi told the Mail on Sunday that the Prime Minister

Sources close to Mr Zahawi told the Mail on Sunday that the Prime Minister ‘bears no grudges’ for his behavior last week and wants him to present ‘a conservative economic strategy’ as chancellor.

The launch of Mr Zahawi’s leadership came as he claimed he had done ‘tremendous harm’ to himself last week by accepting a promotion from Mr Johnson only to then call on him to step down.

A fellow cabinet minister and Johnson loyalist said last night: ‘Nadhim’s behavior last week turned a lot of people off.

However, sources close to Mr Zahawi told the Mail on Sunday that the Prime Minister ‘bears no grudges’ for his behavior last week and wants him to present ‘a conservative economic strategy’ as Chancellor.

Mr Zahawi, who also served as minister for Covid vaccines during the pandemic, put tax cuts at the heart of his speech to succeed Mr Johnson.

The millionaire ex-businessman, who co-founded polling firm YouGov and built a £100million property portfolio, said: “The tax burden is just too high.

A fellow minister and Johnson loyalist said last night:

A fellow cabinet minister and Johnson loyalist said last night: ‘Nadhim’s behavior last week turned a lot of people off.

“As an entrepreneur and businessman, I know that lowering taxes is how we create a thriving and vibrant economy.”

Insisting that “personal, family and business taxes” would be lower “under my watch”, Mr Zahawi added: “Watching the highest tax burden since 1949 is not the conservative way. We cannot tax our way to prosperity.

As an Iraqi-born Kurd who came to the UK aged 11 speaking no English, he has previously hailed Britain as the “best country in the world”.

But yesterday Mr Zahawi – who also said ‘the Conservative Party has made me who I am today’ – warned Britain of the ‘unlimited optimism and opportunity’ that existed under Margaret Thatcher had been lost.

Speaking to Tory Brexiteers, however, he appeared to point to Britain’s departure from the EU as a way to restore those lost opportunities. He said: “Thanks to Brexit we are now a free nation. Let’s not just talk about the opportunities that follow, let’s seize them.

Mr. Zahawi also pledged to increase defense spending and continue his education reforms.

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