Documents seen by the Guardian indicate that Tory peer Michelle Mone and her children received £29 million from a company she recommended within the government’s VIP PPE procurement process. Mone had lobbied ministers to award PPE Medpro a lucrative contract and it now appears that her husband passed on a large sum of money to her via offshore accounts. Up until now, Mone had continually insisted that she never made any financial gains from Medpro. The Tory peer is already under investigation by the House of Lords Commissioners for Standards for failing to reveal that she lobbied for Medpro and had a close involvement with it. Medpro is also under investigation for fraud. The company was awarded £200 million worth in contracts for protective clothing and masks, some of which, it now appears, was not fit for purpose.
Last night the Guardian reported that it had seen documents indicating the transfer of large amounts of money to an offshore trust, Baroness Mone and her children are beneficiaries of. The paper claims to have seen an HSBC report revealing “large value inter-account transfers”. The report suggests that Medpro routed large sums of money to accounts belonging to Douglas Barrowman, Mone’s partner.
In September 2020, Barrowman is said to have been the recipient of £65 million into an Isle of Man trust. It now appears that some of this cash found its way to his personal HSBC account. According to the Guardian, it is now believed that £28.8 million of that money was then transferred to the Keristal Trust established by Douglas Barrowman and another person with links to PPE Medpro. The beneficiaries of this trust are Michelle Mone and her children.
According to the Guardian, the HSBC document concluded that these transfers may indicate that “a UK peer in the House of Lords has benefited from a contract with the UK government”. It did not go as far as to say that there had been any wrongdoing.
Barrowman reportedly assured the bank that Baroness Mone had “no involvement” in Medpro’s business activities, emphasising he had passed on profits “in his personal capacity”.
In reaction to these latest revelations, Mr Barrowman’s lawyer told the Guardian:
“For the time being we are also instructed to say that there is much inaccuracy in the portrayal of the alleged ”facts” and a number of them are completely wrong.”
HSBC bank declined to reveal whether Michelle Mone and Douglas Barrowman had been or were clients.
Michelle Mone’s home raided by National Crime Agency
Earlier this year, the National Crime Agency raided the Tory peer’s home as part of its PPE Medpro fraud investigation. During the coronavirus pandemic, the company was contracted to supply PPE to the value of £200 million. Much of the protective equipment was later declared not fit for purpose.
On Sky News, Kay Burley quizzed Michael Gove on the issue.
#KayBurley – You forwarded on a contact from Michelle Mone… how do you feel that millions of £s was wasted because of that introduction?
Michael Gove – I forwarded on lots of contacts… I don't know the details… #BBCBreakfast pic.twitter.com/FscQi0Zu7Q
— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) November 24, 2022
Having pledged to put “integrity and accountability” at the core of his premiership, these revelations may well put Rishi Sunak’s backbone to the test. The Baroness was instated in 2015 by David Cameron who was himself the focal point of a lobbying scandal last year. Since then, Michelle Mone has been one of the most controversial Tory figures.