Labour is urging the next Tory leader to commit to sacking a Treasury minister who is paid multiple salaries from companies with links to a notorious tax haven.
Richard Fuller, who was appointed in the dying days of Boris Johnson’s premiership, is paid £80,000 a year by the finance firms – which the opposition describes as a “shocking conflict of interest”
The MP, whose gets the cash for the equivalent of one working day a month, has a history of advocating for “light touch” financial regulations and “deregulation” for financial services companies like his employers.
Yet in his new role as economic secretary to the Treasury Mr Fuller is in charge of financial regulation for companies such as the ones he works for.
To compound matters, one of his employers, Investcorp, has reportedly poured cash into spy technology in China, backing another company building surveillance systems capable of tracking oppressed Uyghur Muslims.
The Independent has contacted Mr Fuller’s office, as well as the Treasury, for comment on the allegations, but not received a response.
The three companies paying Mr Fuller’s salaries totalling £80,000, which are listed on parliament’s register of interests, are all ultimately owned by a firm called InvestCorp. They are based in the north east of England but also incorporated in the Cayman Islands.
The MP, who represents North East Bedfordshire, has also received £35,000 in political donations since 2010 from the co-CEO of InvestCorp.
Mr Fuller’s register of interests says he is paid £40,000 a year for four hours work a month as chairman of OpSec Security. As an advisory director of Investcorp Securities Ltd he is paid £20,000 a year for two hours work a month, and as a director of Impero Solutions Ltd he is paid £20,000 a year for two hours work a month.
The companies have their UK addresses listed on parliament’s register of interests, but Companies House data shows that their parent companies are based in the Cayman Islands, and that they are all owned by InvestCorp.
Mr Fuller used to work at Investcorp from 2000 to 2007 before becoming an MP, where he set up their technology ventures business.
James Murray, Labour’s shadow financial secretary to the Treasury, said: “Working people and businesses in Britain work hard and pay their taxes. It is beyond reproach for a Treasury Minister to be benefiting from a company linked not only to tax avoidance, but also to the Chinese state-backed abuse of Uyghur Muslims.
“The Government has serious questions to answer about why it ignored this shocking conflict of interest when putting Richard Fuller in charge of regulating financial services. Mr Fuller must urgently clarify whether he owns any stakes in offshore funds linked to Investcorp.”
Mr Murray added: “The current Chancellor – who has his own questionable links to tax havens – must show that he has at least a shred of integrity by sacking Richard Fuller now and carrying out a full investigation into these links.
“If he does not do so, then all Tory leadership candidates must do the right thing and pledge now to remove Fuller immediately if they win.”
Last week it was claimed that Nadhim Zahawi, the chancellor and Mr Fuller’s boss at the Treasury, had avoided millions of pounds in tax with an offshore trust.
Those claims related to a company called Balshore Investments, a Gibraltar-based company held by a trust controlled by his parents.
Mr Zahawi promised to publish his tax returns if he became prime minster, but was knocked out of the leadership race in the first round so has not done so.
Mr Zahawi’s predecessor in No.10, Rishi Sunak, who topped the Tory leadership race ballot yesterday, also faced questions about his and his family’s tax affairs – particularly relating to the non-dom status of his wife.