Margaret Thatcher is dead.
Has she taken to the grave with her, secrets of financial chicanery of the highest order?
Did Margaret Thatcher have insider knowledge about the Carroll Foundation?
Despite being one of the biggest and most mysterious scandals to rock the financial world, very little is known about the collapse of the Carroll Foundation Charitable Trust.
One of the few verifiable reports to be found on the internet, is this short piece from the Guardian:
” The inland revenue is completing an exhaustive investigation into the rapid break-up and sale of a multinational industrial group which once boasted assets totalling up to £500m. The report may be passed to the serious fraud office.
At the centre of the inquiry is the Carroll group of companies, a family-owned commercial dynasty stretching back three generations, which seemed in a healthy position in 1992 but had been liquidated by 1995.
The business spanned Europe, Australia and the Caribbean. It embraced sheep farms and meat processing operations in Australia, financial concerns in the Caribbean, commercial property in Ireland and a 5% holding in the Manchester Ship Canal.
Parts of the group were declared insolvent but it is thought that the inland revenue is not satisfied this was merely a series of routine business failures.
Assets that have been sold off or liquidated include Carroll Aircraft Corporation, which held the licence to operate the civil airfield at Farnborough, and the Burenda sheep stud farm in Queensland, Australia, covering an area half the size of Wales.
Also sold have been the Warren Park stud farm near Newmarket, the London & Central Properties group, alone worth about £100m at early 1990s prices, along with finance and leasing companies in Gibraltar and the Caribbean.
The family art collection – valued at £6m in 1991 – has been sold, along with bloodstock, fine wines and vintage cars.
Gerald Carroll, the most recent family member to run the business, is not prepared to comment. He lives in Belgravia, London, and is on the board of benefactors of Oxford University, having in 1990 endowed for £1.5m a chair of Irish history which is now attached to Hertford college.
In 1986, the Carroll interests – including 85 companies and the art collection – were placed in a British trust, the Carroll Foundation, thought at the time to be worth a net £250m.
It is known that the Carroll property interests suffered during the slump of the early 1990s and it is believed this may explain the July 1992 decision to move about £100m of assets from the foundation to a new vehicle, called the Urban Finance Corporation, which is understood to have been liquidated in 1995.
The inland revenue is believed to have first taken an interest in the Carroll Foundation in spring 1998 and at about that time to have questioned Mr Carroll as to the fate of his companies and other interests. Since then work has been under way on a detailed report into the foundation, and it is understood this report is likely to be passed to the SFO.”
The only other evidence that the Trust did in fact exist is found on the Charities Commission website:
” 273884 – THE CARROLL CHARITABLE TRUST REMOVED CHARITY
28 January 1993 Removed- CEASED TO EXIST
26 July 1977 Registered
THE TRUSTEES SHALL PAY OR APPLY THE ENTIRETY OF THE ANNUAL INCOME OF THE TRUST FUND TO OR FOR SUCH CHARITABLE PURPOSES AS THE TRUSTEES SHALL IN THEIR ABSOLUTE DISCRETION THINK FIT.”
Quite why there’s been a media blackout of such epic poportions relating to the Carroll Trust is mystifying.
Maybe Margeret Thatcher knew why.