Questions hung over the future of Lord Myners, the City Minister, last night after it emerged that he helped to set up a business in the tax haven of Bermuda. The minister, who has already been severely criticised for allowing Sir Fred Goodwin, the former RBS chief executive, to leave his job with a £16.9 million pension pot, helped in 2002 to set up Aspen Insurance Holdings, a company based in Bermuda that avoids more than £100 million a year in British taxes.
Gordon Brown, who appointed Lord Myners last October, has declared his intention to clamp down on tax havens, saying this month that the world has “no place” for them.
Lord Myners, who is responsible for the Government’s handling of the banking crisis and who helped the Prime Minister last year to launch a high-profile investigation into tax havens, earned close to £200,000 in one year as chairman of Aspen, a property and crisis reinsurance company. He received a £50,000 farewell bonus when he left the job in 2007.
George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, said: “Paul Myners is fast turning from an embarrassing appointment by Gordon Brown to a serious liability for the Labour Party. First, his story on why he failed to stop the Goodwin pension is unravelling and now his alleged involvement in offshore tax avoidance makes the Government’s belated campaign against offshore tax havens look like hypocrisy.”
Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, said: “His position is looking weaker by the day. He has obviously made some serious mis-judgements. He operates in a world where extremely large tax avoidance is a matter of routine.”
The Gorgon has made another inept decision. Headless chicken, anyone? Meanwhile, we just pay and pay and pay. Lovely!