I hadn’t known this

Tory deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft has settled his libel action over a website claim that his companies offered banking facilities which helped customers unlawfully to evade tax.

Lord Ashcroft, the chairman and majority shareholder in BB Holdings Limited, accepted a public apology and a substantial undisclosed donation to a charity he founded – Crimestoppers – from accountant Richard Murphy.

Murphy, a director of Tax Research LLP, who has a website, Tax Research UK and a related blog, will also pay the legal costs of the peer and two subsidiaries of BB Holdings – The Belize Bank Ltd and Belize Bank International Ltd.

Busuttil said Murphy, of Downham Market, Norfolk, appeared to have based his allegations on his understanding of what he had read on a third party’s website, but that in fact that website said no such thing and its owners had subsequently confirmed that they were not making any such allegations nor were they even referring to the claimants.

Unfortunately, Murphy did not approach the claimants for comment before posting the defamatory allegations, Busuttil said, adding: “In fact, as the defendant accepts, these allegations are entirely false.

54 thoughts on “I hadn’t known this”




  2. As I mentioned below, there’s a video of Ritchie at a gathering where he mentions “someone” injuncted him, but he got Prem Sikka to do the publishing instead and a Panorama at that time was on Ashcroft.

    That’s all I knew before, slightly surprised we hadn’t spotted the details before. Proves he’s a Walter Mitty type anyway as he wasn’t injuncted, he was sued! If only the original post would appear somewhere.

  3. Arnald!
    DBC Reed!
    David Mullen!
    Bill Lawrence!
    Andrew Dickie!

    Your boy took one helluva beating.

  4. Hilariously, it all arose because he read something, no , sorry miss-read something, didn’t really understand it, leapt to a conclusion and published an accusation without checking facts or asking for the other side of the story.

    That still remains his MO.

  5. One for the accountants:

    Will Murphy have to declare this to his professional body? And will he be subject to any disciplinary action?

    I know that an actuary in this position would certainly need to declare it and would likely face a heavy fine, possibly suspension, from the profession.

  6. @GlenDorran,

    There’s no mention in the TRUK accounts for that year, apparently TRUK had “a good year”.

  7. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

    Now we just need someone to punch Livingstone in his smug, reptilian gob.

  8. Well found. 2009, so presumably not why he’s just sold his house, but it might explain his running round foundations for money over the last few years.

    Legal costs as well as damages, that must have been expensive; no wonder he uses an LLP these days.

    But where’s the public apology that was apparently part of the deal? I can’t find it. I was hoping for something like Eoin Clarke’s:

  9. Noel Scoper said:
    “There’s no mention in the TRUK accounts for that year, apparently TRUK had “a good year”.”

    So the champion of disclosure and transparency omitted a major financial transaction from his accounts?

  10. And does anybody believe this is the ‘only’ mistake of this sort he has made?

    Maybe not all actionable, but obviously, I can no longer trust him or his opinions.

    He has let me down.

    Laughing so hard, the tears are running down my leg!

  11. “I know that an actuary in this position …”: come on now, being an actuary is a serious profession. Ol’ Spud is just an accountant i.e. a bookkeeper and a tax ev, oops, avoider.

  12. The best news in a long time – Fantastic stuff. With the suspension of Ken Livingstone it seems pure evil is having a tough time of it…….

  13. Bloke in Costa Rica

    It’s about time. He’s been sailing pretty close to the wind for a while now. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving shitbag.

  14. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Also, I wonder if this has anything to do with his move from Downham Market. Maybe he needed to liberate some dosh.

  15. He has learned from this. He libels organisations but tends to stay just thus side of the line with individuals.

  16. Bloke in Costa Rica

    It is, additionally, another example of his ignorance and parochialism. Any number of expats have corporate credit cards for convenience (including yours truly) and there is nothing nefarious about it. But he sees something that’s out of his mundane sphere of reference and automatically assumes that there must be hijinx involved.

  17. Does this mean that if I compare Sir Murphalot to Dr Eoin, then Dr Eoin will be pursuing mr for damages because I would have implied that he is even thicker than is actually the case?

    Or will we have the first libel action in the world on behalf of two short planks?

  18. “But he sees something that’s out of his mundane sphere of reference and automatically assumes that there must be hijinx involved.”

    You see this with everything he doesn’t understand. He just presumes that *everything* done that is outside his *truly* munade existence must by definition be soley for the purpose of tax evoidance or avasion or something. Such as applying for a patent or registering a trademark, which touch on my professional area of expertise…

  19. I note he agreed to make a charitable donation. What odds that he claimed full gift aid relief at 40% on that to minimise the cost to him. The snake.

  20. Abacab, BiCR>

    Yes, there’s a reason I say Ritchie is solely motivated by belief in antisemitic conspiracy theories about how ‘the jooz’ gouge everyone every which way from Sunday. As far as he’s concerned the default assumption is that rich people are either ‘Jooz’ themselves, or associates/tools of ‘the Jooz’, and are only rich because they steal/gouge/rip-off.

  21. Murphy committed a basic error: check a story with the person you are writing about. FFS, this basic good discipline.

    He’s an idiot.

  22. Bloke in Lower Hutt

    Candidly, I believe the donation he makes to charity should be somewhat larger than he is legally obliged to pay, anything less would be pure neo-liberal sophistry.

  23. Hopefully At some point his near libellous comments on the audit profession in particular and accounting in general will lead to a complaint or action from the professional body as well.

    Reading his blog he seems to believe that all company accountants are engaged in tax shenanigans and the auditors are either colluding or incompetent.

  24. Ashcroft comes out of this very well. The damage to his business must vastly outway RM’s resources. Yet he settles for a charitable donation. Mind you, if I was Ashcroft I’d have insisted on a donation to the Tax Payers’ Alliance.

  25. I really want to know why Ritchie has moved and released some cash. It can’t be in expectation of any London based job as Ely isn’t much closer to London. It seems unlikely it is schools as the ones in Ely aren’t much better than Downham Market, unless he released the cash to pay for private school fees? Maybe there are innocent reasons but with Ritchie I somehow doubt it.

  26. Sam, the only innocent explanation I can think of is that now he’s not going to be Lord Murphy and a Treasury minister, his wife has had to get a better paid job, and she’s found one in Ely.

    My deeper suspicion is that he’s looked at the local secondary schools, realised they’re crap and is going to do a Diane Abbott and go private. Wasn’t he privately educated himself? But that would depend on the age of his children, which I don’t know.

    Unlikely it’s because he’s been sued again; he’s operating through a network of LLPs now so he’d presumably be able to avoid personal liability.

  27. Why on earth would anyone living in North Norfolk not live in Norwich itself, which is a really nice city on many levels as well as having pretty good communications UK wide. My sister lives near Norwich.

    Or if not in Norwich itself, why not live in one of the many villages through the county of Norfolk which retain so many of the advantages of living in rural England – community spirit, Rule Britannia, pretty villages and countryside etc. Why base yourself in a town that has no advantage at all that I can see, unless it was the only GP practice his wife could get a place in?

  28. Ritchie makes c.£100k p.a. from grants, his ‘professorship’ and lobbying. His part time GP wife must make c.£60k. They aren’t short of money. They could easily pay private school fees out of that income. I really don’t see why they need to downsize. I am sure there is something we don’t know about.

  29. Actually inheritance tax planning might make sense; he must be nearly 60 and didn’t he have a few spells in hospital recently?

    Would be glorious if he was taking a big CGT-free capital gain in order to do some inheritance tax planning.

  30. In fairness to the defending himself I assume any half competent lawyer he consulted would have told him he was screwed and best option was to go into court himself, apologise and just take what deal he was and given keep the costs down rather than take a lawyer into court and waste time

  31. Richard et al>

    You’re ignoring a far more obvious reason for him to move: if you’re as much of a cunt as he is, you have to move on every so often once people have got to know you. Maybe he just wants to live somewhere he’s not barred from most businesses in town.

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