LONDON — One of Tony Blair’s key companies received a £2 million ($2.4 million) bailout from another one of his vehicles that has been completely written off, according to accounts.
Windrush Ventures, one of the central businesses in Blair’s complex business empire, bought just over 200,000 shares at £10 each in Firerush Ventures, another Blair company, in April 2015. The investment amounts to a cash injection of just over £2 million, as first reported by the Telegraph.
However, Windrush’s latest accounts for the year to March 2016 show that the company has already written off the entire investment, citing “the level of reserves held in Firerush Ventures Limited.” Firerush’s own accounts show net assets of just over £1 million.
Here is the relevant section of the Windrush accounts:
The Telegraph spoke to several accountants who reviewed the financials of both companies and said it looks like Firerush required a bailout to keep going.
Richard Murphy, a chartered accountant and a professor of political economy at City, University of London, told the paper: “It appears from the Firerush accounts that the company ran into financial problems in 2015. Because of the opacity [of Mr Blair’s company structure] we cannot tell why but we do know it cost Windrush £2 million to bail it out.”
A spokesperson for Tony Blair’s office told the Telegraph: “In 2015, Windrush Ventures Limited made an investment in Firerush to expand the business, and in 2016 Firerush made a profit. Despite being confident of Firerush’s future, following the later decision to close the business, the investment made will not be recovered. Of course, there are some redundancies, as we have closed the business.”
Blair announced last September that he is closing down his complex business empire, established after he stepped down as Prime Minister in 2007. He will use £9 million of funds from his companies to create a new non-profit called the Tony Blair Institute, aimed at making globalisation work for everyone by combating poverty.
Blair’s business empire has proved highly controversial in the near decade he has run it. His companies provide strategic advice on economics and politics but often work with controversial clients such as the authoritarian government of Kazakhstan and oil companies. The Sunday Times claims Blair was involved in a secret “cash for contacts” deal with PetroSaudi to help broker oil deals and advised the Kazakh leader on how to present the deaths of workers in the country.
The former Prime Minister will “retain a small number of personal consultancies for my income” after closing his businesses, which includes investment bank JPMorgan and a number of private individual clients according to the Financial Times.
Blair’s business empire is thought to have made him millions, although the structure makes it hard to tell the exact amount. Blair says much of the business’ profits have been funnelled into charity and development work in places like Africa.
Windrush’s accounts show the highest paid director, who is not named, earned £280,000 in the year to March 2016. That was down from £403,000 the year prior. Windrush’s 53 employees earned an average salary of £93,980 last year.
Windrush made a pre-tax profit of £2.2 million last year and paid £879,000 in tax.
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