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Last Updated: Monday, 30 June, 2003, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Dame Shirley's 'influence over millions'
Dame Shirley Porter
The scandal ended Dame Shirley's political career
An investigation by BBC Radio 4's Today programme has revealed documents which appear to show Dame Shirley Porter is continuing to exert influence over family assets of possibly millions of pounds, months after she claimed she was worth just 300,000.

The disgraced former Westminster council leader, who now lives in Israel, maintains she cannot afford to pay a surcharge now totalling 40m.

It was imposed by the district auditor for her role in the "homes for votes" scandal in Westminster in the 1980s.

Eighteen months ago the House of Lords accused her of political corruption and upheld and the ruling by the district auditor.

He had accused Dame Shirley of squandering millions of pounds by unlawfully selling off council flats on the cheap simply to boost the number of Tory voters.

Assets

In his report the BBC's Andrew Hosken said many were surprised when she said her assets were worth only 300,000.

She is the daughter of Jack Cohen, who founded Tesco. The press once estimated her worth as 70m.

Today has obtained confidential documents that appear to show Dame Shirley's influence over the family's millions.

The investigation has discovered at least five off shore companies with clear links to the Porter family.

No comment

One company called White Coast Investments Limited, based in the British Virgin Islands, has been linked to Dame Shirley in the documents.

In February this year, Dame Shirley was ordered to disclose what interests she had in trusts.

Nearly five months on, she has still failed to comply with that order.

So far, Dame Shirley has declined to comment.




SEE ALSO:
Dame Shirley misses 27m deadline
13 Sep 02  |  England
Action starts over Dame's 27m bill
28 Dec 01  |  England


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