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Sunday 11 July 2010

The mystery of Lord Mandelson's finances - Telegraph

The mystery of Lord Mandelson's finances - Telegraph: "The mystery of Lord Mandelson's finances"

There is no puzzle about the owner of the house: Lord Mandelson. There is no secret about its value: Land Registry records show that in 2006 he bought the place for £2.5 million, including stamp duty.

The mystery has always been how he could possibly have afforded it.

The price was around 16 times his then-income as a European Commissioner, a mortgage which, even in pre-credit crunch days, no lender would have contemplated.

Sources close to the then Mr Mandelson suggested at the time that he used a bequest from his late mother, Mary, and sold his shares in an advertising agency.

But probate files show he received only £452,000 from his mother's estate; a search at Companies House disclosed he sold the shares a year after buying the house; and Land Registry records of his previous property dealings in London and his former constituency of Hartlepool show that he could have amassed no more than around £1.15 million in equity to put towards the purchase.

Added together, all that would still have left Mr Mandelson at least £1 million short. He did take out a mortgage – reportedly for £750,000 – to cover most of the gap.

But in a 2009 interview he let slip that he had paid it off completely after just one year.

The normal place to look for politicians' earnings is the declarations of interests they are obliged, under the rules, to make.

Mr Mandelson's declarations list only modestly-paid work for newspapers and magazines, and a number of speaking engagements.

Quite. There is something grossly wrong where those resposible for the law ignore it, and people become multimillionaires at the public's expense.

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