An organization linked to the Conservative peer Michelle Mone that was awarded £203m price of presidency PPE contracts through the pandemic has been issued with a winding up petition, apparently for unpaid taxes.
PPE Medpro Ltd was awarded two contracts through the federal government’s “VIP lane” after Lady Mone approached Michael Gove in May 2020 with a suggestion to produce private protecting gear. It is already beneath investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) for potential fraud.
Details of the winding up petition, first reported by a courts blogger, Daniel Cloake, state that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs issued it towards the corporate on Thursday morning. No particulars have been said as to how a lot tax is claimed to be owed, nor for the way lengthy it has been excellent.
A spokesperson for HMRC declined to supply any additional data, citing a coverage of not commenting on identifiable companies.
It was beforehand revealed that Mone emailed her fellow Tory peer Theodore Agnew on 8 May 2020, telling him that Gove had requested her to “urgently” contact him. She proposed supplying giant portions of face masks to the federal government, telling Agnew they might be sourced by way of “my group in Hong Kong”.
Agnew, on the time a Cabinet Office minister chargeable for procurement, referred Mone’s supply to civil servants who processed it by way of the VIP “excessive precedence lane” for politically related individuals. The firm that was given the contracts, PPE Medpro Ltd, was not integrated till 12 May 2020, 4 days after Mone approached Agnew.
The firm was awarded its first contract, for £80.85m to produce 210m face masks, a month later. The Department of Health and Social Care awarded the second contract two weeks later, for £122m, to produce 25m surgical robes. Both contracts have been awarded immediately, with out aggressive tenders, beneath Covid emergency rules.
The second contract turned topic to a dispute after the DHSC rejected the robes, and it has stated it’s looking for to get better its cash by way of a dispute decision course of. PPE Medpro has maintained that it complied with the phrases of its robes contract and was entitled to maintain the cash it was paid.
The firm’s first monetary accounts, for the yr to five April 2021, said that it had no belongings, had made a revenue of £3.9m, was owed an extra £4m, and owed £913,019 in tax and social safety due inside a yr.
Mone has persistently denied being concerned in PPE Medpro. Lawyers instructed by her have stated: “Baroness Mone is neither an investor, director or shareholder in any means related to PPE Medpro. She has by no means had any position or operate in PPE Medpro, nor within the course of by which contracts have been awarded to PPE Medpro.”
Her husband, the Isle of Man-based financier Douglas Barrowman, equally distanced himself from the corporate, though his attorneys haven’t commented on whether or not he financially benefited from the agency.
In January, the Guardian reported that leaked information appeared to recommend Mone and Barrowman have been secretly concerned within the PPE Medpro enterprise. Mone’s attorneys stated in response that the Guardian’s findings have been “grounded completely on supposition and hypothesis and never primarily based on accuracy”.
The House of Lords requirements commissioner, Martin Jelley, then launched an investigation, which is ongoing, into whether or not Mone’s links to the company breached rules relating to members. She has denied any wrongdoing.
In April, the NCA executed search warrants at Mone and Barrowman’s mansion within the Isle of Man and several other different properties, together with the workplaces of PPE Medpro Ltd and the related firm of the identical identify registered within the Isle of Man.
Lawyers for PPE Medpro, Mone and Barrowman have been contacted for remark in relation to the winding up petition.