Lord Ashcroft's BioEdit
Michael Anthony (Parker) Ashcroft, Baron Ashcroft, KCMG PC, (born 4 March 1946), is an international businessman, philanthropist and politician. He holds dual British and Belizean nationality, and is a Belonger of the Turks & Caicos Islands. Ennobled as a life peer in 2000, he sits in the House of Lords on the Conservative benches. In the Sunday Times Rich List 2009 ranking of the wealthiest people in the UK he was placed 37th with an estimated fortune of £1.1 billion.
In 1977, he acquired a 25% stake in an obscure tent company, Hawley Group Ltd.
He spent the late 1980s developing ever-closer friendships with senior Tory figures such as Cecil Parkinson and Kenneth Baker.
1987 was a key year for Hawley. In the early part of the year, it bought Crime Control Inc. based in Indianapolis, for $50 million, placing the company in fourth place in the U.S. security market. Later in the year it bought ADT Security Services, the largest electronic security company in the United States. This purchase transformed Hawley into the leading security services business in the United States, and resulted in the majority of its revenues coming from the North American market. As a result of the acquisition, Bermuda-registered Hawley changed its name to ADT Inc. and decided to refocus its business around security services.
As the wine flowed at a glitzy Washington fund-raising dinner for the London City Ballet back in 1990, Michael Ashcroft let his arm slip casually across the back of the chair occupied by Diana, Princess of Wales - a lapse which has been portrayed since as a gaffe.
In 1996 there was talk of a merger between ADT and Republic Industries Inc. owned by H. Wayne Huizenga.
In 1997, ADT was sold by a reverse takeover to Tyco International for $6.7 billion.
Ashcroft disposed of large amounts of the Tyco stock which he had acquired as a result of the sale of ADT, explaining that he needed the capital to diversify into other things and that he never retained a substantial stake in any enterprise which he did not control.
In July 1999 The Independent reported that Ashcroft's company, BHI Offshore Financial Services, sold Belize passports for £33,000 each. Holders had the right to "trouble-free travel" around the world without visas. The firm also offered to sell offshore companies and trusts, which could make investors' money safe from tax authorities, creditors, former spouses and even disinherited children.
Said Musa, the Prime Minister of Belize, appointed him the Belizean Ambassador to the United Nations in 1998
Barry Bowen was an old school friend of his.
Lord Ashcroft is reportedly friendly with William Hague.
In 2012, Lord Ashcroft launched Operation Zygos: "to locate and apprehend nine suspected criminals who are thought to be in hiding in Cyprus."
Ashcroft has an interest in military history and collects medals.
According to Labour MP Peter Bradley, his name first appeared in 1989, in connection with a US Drug Enforcement Agency investigation spanning Europe, the US and Canada.
Lord Ashcroft's connection to Mario HoffmanEdit
Mario Hoffman, the controversial Slovakian owner of Salt Cay DevCo, the development company hoping [ still? ] to do a massive resort development encompassing most of the historic and pristine island of Salt Cay, has filed a motion in the Courts of the Turks and Caicos Islands in reference to the forth coming Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry.
A contributor to the TCI Journal went to the courthouse in Providenciales on Monday May 18, 2009, to learn the particulars and hear the arguments of the case, only to learn that the attorneys for Mr. Hoffman, Johnathan Katan of the local firm Miller, Simons, O'Sullivan and some of the attorneys from London requested that the hearing be held in camera (behind closed doors). That request was granted.
Also, contrary to reports in the TCI Net News, the initial recent attempt to shut down, or otherwise effect the publishing of the Journal following its reporting of the hearings came from Lord Michael Ashcroft, the owner of Belize Bank, and not from Mario Hoffman.
Lord Ashcroft's connections to Michael MisickEdit
It has long been suggested that Ashcroft helped to build Misick a palatial beachfront mansion in exchange, it is alleged, for awarding contracts to build two state-of-the-art hospital complexes on the struggling UK dependency to a company indirectly linked to Ashcroft.
Lord Ashcroft's connection to Wayne HuizengaEdit
Ashcroft first met Huizenga in the mid 1980s at a party in Florida. They became friends.
Lord Ashcroft's connection to Leonard Dennis KozlowskiEdit
Aschroft wrote: I liked what he was trying to do with Tyco and I liked his style. We met for breakfast in New York at the St Regis Hotel in Manhattan in March 1997. Just the two of us were present and I took to him at once. He came across as a no-nonsense businessman who knew where he was going.
Lord Ashcroft's connection to BelizeEdit
Ashcroft has close business and other connections with the Commonwealth country of Belize, and served as the country's ambassador to the United Nations between 1998 and 2000.
In his 2005 biography, he admitted that it is a country where his interests have been "exempt from certain taxes for 30 years."
In 1981, Belize had gained independence from the UK.
In 1984 Ashcroft formed Belize Holdings (BHI)
By the late 1980s, BHI had become one of the largest holding companies in Belize, with direct interests in or holdings via main operating company Stargate Ltd, ranging from telecommunications, property, the Belize shipping register, and citrus fruits.
In 1987, BHI led the formation of Belize Bank Holdings, which took control of Belize Bank from the Royal Bank of Canada. Belize Bank has become the country's largest financial institution, controlling some 50 percent of the market.
In 2005, under pressure from the Belize Government, BBH restructured and renamed itself BCB Holdings.
Lord Ashcroft's connection to the Turks and Caicos IslandsEdit
The Guardian reported in July 1999: Mr Ashcroft, having made millions by helping set up a bank in Belize and an offshore tax system, had been trying to expand into the Turks and Caicos, a British dependency.
This was a cause for concern among British diplomats in the region. Leaked foreign office papers in recent weeks revealed that Charles Drace-Francis, a diplomat, writing two years later, suggested Mr Ashcroft was becoming increasingly frustrated over British restrictions on his plans for the Turks and Caicos. "He threatened to get the politicians in the TCI to stir up trouble for us," Mr Drace-Francis said.
The British government gave him permission to open an offshoot of his Bank of Belize on the islands but refused to let him set up a new bank.
Two BBC Panorama programmes have investigated his secret involvement in developments in the Turks and Caicos.