Daily Mail levels hypocrisy charge at Guardian newspapers over tax affairs

The Daily Mail has taken aim at the Guardian Media Group, accusing it of hypocrisy over its tax affairs in the wake of the 'Panama Papers' leak.

(Credit: Newscast Online/Alamy Stock Photo)
(Credit: Newscast Online/Alamy Stock Photo)
The Daily Mail today writes that GMG used an offshore company in the Cayman Islands when it bought a magazine and events group with the private equity firm Apax.

Th group paid no stamp duty on the acquisition because of a "complex arrangement", which was accepted by HMRC, the Mail said.

The Mail claimed that GMG had used an HMRC exemption to avoid corporation tax on the £302 million sale of its stake in AutoTrader in 2008, and that it also has a fund portfolio that invests in offshore hedge funds, which is subject to UK tax on its profits.

The Guardian and The Observer newspapers were among the more than 100 global media outlets that worked in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which analysed the 11.5 million leaked files from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, dubbed the 'Panama Papers'.

A Guardian News & Media spokesperson said: "The Guardian Media Group has business operations in the UK, US and Australia. The group's assets are held entirely in these countries and fully subject to prevailing tax laws and regulations."

HMRC said it could not comment on a company or individual’s tax arrangements, and Apax declined to comment.

The Daily Mail also quoted a 2011 article by then Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger, who wrote: "If the argument is that no one should write critically about tax avoidance unless they can show total purity in all their dealings and investments, both personally and corporately, then the probable blunt truth is that not a single journalist would be able to write on the subject."

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