THE Eye’s revelation that Britain’s most powerful newspaper owner, Daily Mail and General Trust chairman Lord “Non Dom” Rothermere, saves a fortune by owning his newspaper group through tax havens like Bermuda, has met with deafening silence.
The fairly significant news that a press baron whose papers take a none too indulgent line on foreigners feels a principal allegiance to another country (and France of all places) has merited not a single mention in the press. This is the omerta effect of what the Mail’s most famous editor Sir David English called the “proprietors club”. All agree not to report on the others for fear of mutual destruction.
More alarming, however, is the cover-up at HM Revenue & Customs, where boss Dave Hartnett put pressure on inspectors to drop an investigation into the bizarre arrangement under which English-born Rothermere is considered to be domiciled abroad while lording it over a neo-Palladian castle set in 220 acres of Wiltshire countryside. Hartnett’s intervention countermanded the judgement of investigators, a high-level strategy board and government lawyers that there was an overwhelming case to overturn the viscount’s non-dom status.
Insiders report that a furious Hartnett has instigated an inquiry into how the episode was leaked – but, strangely, no inquiry into how and why he gave the press baron the sweetheart treatment in the first place!