The Feral Beast: Glitter's offshore tax shame
A press watchdog with teeth
Sunday 09 December 2012
Gary Glitter's popularity never quite recovered after his spell in prison for downloading child porn. Now, in news that could make us love him even less, I understand the ex-glam rocker may have dabbled in that other no-no of our age – tax avoidance. Accounts for the holding company that handles Glitter's business interests show that, in 2006, ownership transferred to a parent company based in the British West Indies. Until 2005, Paul Gadd – Glitter's real name – was listed as owning 99 per cent of his music business, Machmain Ltd. But in 2006, ownership of all shares was transferred to Shoreview Ltd, which is registered to a PO box in Anguilla. Since 2007, Gadd's name has disappeared from Machmain's accounts, and because the laws of Anguilla do not require businesses to declare their activities, little is known about Shoreview. Of course, as Starbucks, Google and Amazon like to point out, funnelling your business through an offshore company is a perfectly legal way to avoid corporation tax. But for a convicted sex offender with a reputation in tatters, it's possibly not a winner.
Jeremy Clarkson ran into trouble when he named and shamed allegedly bad drivers by tweeting pictures of their number plates. Now, Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish has risked making similarly libellous accusations, by tweeting a picture of a car he claims tried to run him off the road. Cavendish has been left shaken by the incident yesterday afternoon, when he was out cycling with fellow British cyclist Russell Hampton. "This man just tried to run me & @russellhampton off the road," Cavendish told his half million followers, posting a photo of an old man in a blue fisherman's cap walking away from a white Citroën. "Now HE'S threatening to call the police! We want him to." Bradley Wiggins and his coach were knocked off their bikes and badly injured within 24 hours of each other last month, and Cavendish was also thrown from his bike in a collision in Tuscany. The day before yesterday's incident, he got a surprise delivery of a motorbike helmet from pro bike rider Cal Crutchlow. Perhaps he should wear it at all times.
Royal biographer Hugo Vickers has issued a stark warning for Pippa Middleton: to bag herself a good husband, and pronto. He tells me: "If she's not careful, she could find herself snapped up by a foreign millionaire, or someone who will see marrying her as a trophy, as a way to get access to the Royal Family. It could be very dangerous for her, and for her family." Vickers was a guest at last week's Bad Sex Awards, hosted by the Literary Review, the day after news of Kate's pregnancy broke. Vickers has published biographies of the Queen Mother and the Duchess of Windsor, but, asked if he fancies writing up the Duchess of Cambridge, he was less enthusiastic. However, he was overjoyed at the news of Kate's pregnancy, especially at the possibility she might have twins. "If she has twins delivered by Caesarean section, the obstetrician will have to pluck one out first, who would be heir to the throne. That would keep people like me busy for a long time."
Berry in great British slag-off
Mary Berry, 77, has enjoyed a late burst of celebrity thanks to starring in BBC2's The Great British Bake Off. But fellow judge Paul Hollywood, 46, has been making jokes about her age. The master baker was at Denman College in Oxfordshire last weekend, a country house run by the Women's Institute for training courses. His presentation on how to make flatbread sold out within 18 minutes. But was it nice of him to crack jokes at Berry's expense, when she wasn't there? Among the gags were: "They used to make 50 different types of bread in 2500BC. I don't know how many Mary was doing at the time." Later he said she "started writing her books in 1842". He added that, when Mary's at home in Buckinghamshire, she's so grand that "they fly a flag with a cake on it". At the end, worried someone might tell Mary about his lack of gallantry, he said: "If you tell her what I said, I'll just say you're lying." What a charmer!
Running a castle is never easy and, for the Duke of Rutland, the recession has meant fewer wealthy Americans booking to go shooting. But this could turn out to be good news, for the pheasants at least. News reaches me of a shooting party at Belvoir Castle (pronounced Beaver) composed mainly of Russians, some of whom were unused to the challenge of high-flying birds. While some shoots result in as many as 500 birds being downed in a day, the tally at Belvoir was rather less. "The total haul was a few brace of pheasants, one sheep and a beater," grunts my man in the Land Rover. "And the beater's still alive."
The world is due to end on 21 December, according to Mayan legend, which has prompted some people who never normally live by Mayan law to start panicking. Not so the Bible Society, which is so certain that the world isn't going to end that it is "re-releasing" the Book of Revelation – the day after the world ends. As you will recall, Revelation is the book in the Bible about the end of time, but as the Bible Society points out, this moment will be chosen by God. "Ah, the futile frenzy of trying to guesstimate a date for the end of the world," sighs the charity's director Paul Woolley. "On 21 December I'm planning to celebrate my wedding anniversary in London with a good meal – and it won't be the last supper." Boom tish!
Closed-doors power broker Matthew Freud is feared and revered in equal measure. But will we ever be able to think of the PR man in the same light? His sister Emma calls him "my ridiculous brother" in Tatler, and reveals that she always addresses him as "you weirdo". "I always speak to him like that," she says, "Someone has to – and it turns out to be me." I wonder what his enemies call him.
The craze for all things Scandinavian led to London's inaugural Nordic Film Festival selling out last week. But hopes that leading Scandi stars might turn up were dashed – apparently by our cold weather. Norwegian actor Joachim Trier was billed to appear, as were Finnish stars Peter von Bagh and Jukka Karkkainen. But none came. "We've encouraged cinema lovers across the capital to participate in our first Nordic Film Festival, but feel a bit let down by the non-attendance of the big stars," festival director Sonali Josh tells the Beast. "They were offered free flights and two nights in a hotel. Maybe the weather put them off."
Claridge's star goes home
Much excitement around the series Inside Claridge's, a fly-on-the-swagging documentary about the smart London hotel. The star of last week's episode was Tita Etrata, a Filipina chambermaid. When asked what she thought of the rich, she said: "I think they have too much money. I think ordinary people have a better life. We can do what we like, without bodyguards." But when I went to Claridge's to find her, a man at the entrance told me Tita had retired and "gone home". Let's hope her leaving had nothing to do with her splendidly indiscreet assessment of the guests.
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