Dame Shirley moves pounds 70m out of Britain
Shirley Porter, the former council leader, has sold all her personal shares in the family business, Tesco, worth an estimated pounds 5.5m along with homes in Bayswater and Oxfordshire, and resigned from six British directorships.
The assets have been moved into offshore accounts in Jersey, Guernsey, Panama and the Virgin Islands, with investments in Switzerland, Israel and the United States.
Lady Porter, who now lives in Tel Aviv, Israel, is being pursued by Westminster council for the money to pay the surcharge imposed after her gerrymandering policy of selling council homes to influence voting patterns was declared unlawful.
The council has spent pounds 3.5m in legal fees to recover the money but its chief executive, Bill Roots, confirmed that a deal may be reached with Lady Porter to save taxpayers from further expenditure.
Her few remaining shares in Tesco, the source of her inherited fortune, are no longer held in her sole name and she has resigned virtually all of her directorships of UK companies in the last four years, since being found guilty of illegal action in seeking to obtain Tory votes in return for homes in Westminster council wards. She sold off two plots of forest land in Scotland in June for pounds 335,000, a month after it was discovered by the council that she owned 1,700 acres of forestry.
The trail of Lady Porter's assets will be exposed in a BBC2 First Sight documentary tomorrow called "Looking for Shirley". It shows a search at Companies House discovering that in March this year she sold her 20 per cent stake in one company, Chelverton Investments.
She is contesting the ruling by the district auditor and the High Court in the Court of Appeal next year. And she could still appeal to the House of Lords and the European Court, if that case goes against her.
Mr Roots told the programme that a deal was "something that may be appropriate in the fullness of time". He added: "The council has spent pounds 3.5m in auditors' and legal fees to get to the point we're at now and we're still in the courts."
If Lady Porter loses her appeal, there could be a long battle with the authorities in Israel and America - where the Porter family own other properties - before any assets could be seized.
Lady Porter issued a statement to the programme protesting her innocence of any financial wrongdoing. "The Westminster case is political from start to finish. This case is not about anything criminal or about any financial wrongdoing or gain. I've done nothing wrong and I intend to fight this case every step of the way."
The BBC programme producers said: "The legacy of her `wilful misconduct' lives on for local residents in Westminster where people who bought homes under her `designated sales' scheme, as the homes for votes scheme was officially called, find they are worthless."
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 Amber Roof: Sister of Charleston shooting suspect Dylann Roof launches fund-raising appeal for wedding and honeymoon
- 3 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 4 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
- 5 BP hit with record $18.7 billion fine over Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Amber Roof: Sister of Charleston shooting suspect Dylann Roof launches fund-raising appeal for wedding and honeymoon
Russell Brand condemns moment of silence for Tunisia attack victims as a 'minute of bulls**t'
Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
Worker killed by robot at Volkswagen car factory
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...
£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity is available to ...
£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This world leading specialist i...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This role's responsibility also include operat...