Coffee House

Police drop investigation into Grant Shapps’ former business

1 November 2013

5:01 PM

1 November 2013

5:01 PM

One of the stranger rows since the Coalition formed has been over Tory chairman Grant Shapps/Michael Green, and whether or not businesses he ran before entering politics were engaged in unlawful activity. How To Corp, which Shapps founded before passing his share to his wife in 2008, sold a software called TrafficPaymaster, which copied content from other websites so that clients could make more money from Google advertising. Labour MP Steve McCabe complained about the firm to Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer and the Metropolitan Police, and today the Met have responded.

The letter, which you can read in full here, says that while legal advice to the Met’s Special Enquiry Team ‘concluded that the selling of the software may constitute an offence of fraud, amongst others’, after fully assessing the case, the MPS ‘have decided not to instigate a criminal investigation and have now closed this matter’. It adds:

‘I must advise you that Google, the Federation Against Software Theft, the Intellectual Property Office and the Publishers Association were all contacted in the course of the assessment and made aware of the nature of the allegation. Mr Steve McCabe MP, who made the initial allegations, will be informed of our decision.’


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Show comments
  • Eddie

    Fraud?
    Well, however politicians promoting irresponsible policies that make house prices rocket, and pocket hundreds of thousands from the price rises they have facilitated?
    Or how about rich politicians benefiting from generous maternity ‘pay’ policies they voted through, where the richer one is and the more one’s salary, the more one’s maternity hand-out.
    Or how about union officials claiming massive expenses and living in council houses for peppercorn rent?
    Fraud is everywhere.
    What this Tory boy was doing was just trying to make a quick buck off the internet. Before this he sold relaxation and therapy tapes – and ANYONE who does that is a fraudster really.

  • Daniel Maris

    This announcement makes Shapps attack on the BBC look like a pre-emptive strike.

  • Smithersjones2013

    says that while legal advice to the Met’s Special Enquiry Team
    ‘concluded that the selling of the software may constitute an offence of
    fraud, amongst others’, after fully assessing the case, the MPS ‘have
    decided not to instigate a criminal investigation and have now closed
    this matter’. It adds:

    If I was McCabe I don’t think I’d let the matter lie. The reasons why the police have dropped it, particularly given an offence might have taken place, are not clear at all. It may well be there is nothing to it but on the basis of that rather wooly letter its not something I’d be confident about.

    • HookesLaw

      The police did not drop it the CPS did. Labour on the other hand must be really worked up and worried about Shapps. So they should he sounds a bit ruthless.

    • Russell

      Maybe Labour will have a word with their police chums and do a ‘Mitchell’ on him. Or they could arrange for the police to carry out a search of his office at the House of Commons.

  • David Lindsay

    Tell them to look into the undervaluation of the Royal Mail, and into whom that has benefited. There is a real fraud story.

    • HookesLaw

      No it isn’t.

      No one knows the value of a company until it is floated – its what the share buyers make of it.
      Its value could fall tomorrow.

      • David Lindsay

        They spent enough on getting a valuation if such a thing is impossible. Time to look into that, then.

        • Daniel Maris

          Yeah, it’s really hard work doing a valuation. You have to have several lunches with the big investors who tell you the price you are thinking of asking is too high. You then lower the price. And when the shares are properly floated, they are found to be undervalued.

          Job done!

          • David Lindsay

            Shouldn’t be too demanding an investigation, in that case. Let’s be having it.

            • Dicky14

              Let’s bring in Lazards too, eh?

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              You only have investigations where crimes are believed to have been committed not because some idiot socialist does not like privatisation.

              • dalai guevara

                Not privatisation – hand over to foreign institutional investors, NC.
                Not that you would know anything about the detail, nor understand this completely “riddle-free” fact.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  The shares were paid for and not ‘handed over’ to investors foreign or otherwise. They are legally acquired property and nothing you say will change that.

                • Daniel Maris

                  That’s like saying the Native Americans got a fair price for Manhattan.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  No because we are talking about the IPO of Royal mail shares and not the forceful acquisition of a piece of land in the United States. The circumstances are different but don’t let that stop you making ridiculous comparisons.

              • David Lindsay

                Flagrant criminality in this case, massively undervaluing a public asset in order to benefit Conservative Party donors, foreign states as such (how is that not a form of treason?), and Ministers’ mates, notably George Osborne’s best man, who has made a killing.

                Considering the 70 per cent public opposition to this privatisation, that is an awful of “idiot Socialists”. The same figure wants to renationalise the railways, which could be done for free, and to renationalise the energy companies. Water will be next on that list. Possibly next week, if I what I hear is correct, and it is impeccably sourced.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  No doubt you will be advocating the theft of those legally acquired assets as well. “Impeccably sourced”, with your record of success I somehow doubt that.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  “Flagrant Criminality” – can we assume that you have informed the relevant authorities and supplied them with the detailled and unimpeachable evidence that you have collected to support such serious allegations? I suspect not. Indeed I suspect that this is just you shrieking for attention because some people whose political leanings you disagree with have legally acquired some shares.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            As if you have the first idea as to how to value a business.

            • Daniel Maris

              Er – yes, I’ve got more than a first idea about the tricks used in valuing businesses.

              But more importantly, this is documented as what happened. The valuation advisors met the big investors who told them what price they woudl accept! LOL Amazingly that is exactly what happened. No sealed bids there.

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                Sealed bids also mean that the buyer sets the price and the seller chooses whether or not to accept that price. If they do not accept those prices there is no sale and the sellers will have to recalibrate their expectations until they find a price which meets the expectations of the buyer.

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      Fatuous. A share issue has to be priced in a manner which reasonably assures it will sell. Share prices rise and fall and most sensible people who understand finance would expect the price to stabilise in due course assuming no market shocks etc. The shares are owned by staff, individuals, investment funds and pension funds (who hold the shares for the benefit of individuals). This share issue was conducted strictly in accordance with the appropriate rules and laws and thus to suggest that it was fraudulent is completely wrong. But then being wrong is your specialist subject.

      • telemachus

        Surely Fatuous undignified and baseless

      • Andy

        You are wasting your time. The Royal Mail was correctly valued in accord with the accounts, which can be seen online. What the price is today is neither here nor there: what is important is what the accounts say and what the earnings and prospective earnings are.

        • Daniel Maris

          Oh right. So now it’s an exact science.

          You must think I and others here were born yesterday .

          • Russell

            From the quality of your comments …yesterday sounds about right.

      • HookesLaw

        Correct
        Pension funds. Labour does not like to think about them.

        New share issues are always sold at a discount. At the moment the yield of the shares is about 4% which is middling.
        The good demand for the shares is good news for the workers of course – not only with the shares they now own but for the fact that they are working for a company which the market believes has a future.

      • Daniel Maris

        Of course it’s fraudulent if you go and ask the people who will be buying the shares at what price the sale should be set.

        You could easily sell the shares in small tranches over a couple of years, which will be a much better guide to the true market value.

        The method adopted is fraudulent because the buyers get to set (in effect) the price.

        Let’s put it this way – if you were selling a house, would you be happy if your estate agent went and asked potential purchasers what the asking price should be.

        This is all part of the quiet corruption that we live with.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Kindly point to the exact provisions of the legal and or tax codes which confirm that the IPO of Royal Mail shares was conducted in a fraudulent manner. Second, present your evidence to the relevant authorities who can then proceed with aprosecution of the guilty parties. Alternatively, admit that you think it is a fraudulent transaction because it offends your massive sense of moral superiority. Funnily enough your penultimate comment about selling a house is effectively what really happens. Your house has no value beyond that which somebody else is willing to pay for it so yes, the buyer sets the price. Experience may allow the estate agent to make a reasonable stab at what the likely selling price might be, but it is the buyer who sets the price and you then choose whether or not to accept that price.

    • neotelemachus

      Christ, idiot number 2 returns. Where have you been numpty? Idiot school?

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …don’t give them any ideas. They’ll set up an idiot school system, fully unionized, with cradle to grave tenure and job security.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          With ‘A’ levels in socialist nuttery!

          • Andy

            You mean an ‘A’ level in National Socialist Nuttery !

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              I stand corrected Andy. They can take a degree in that one as well.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Yes, of course. Why place arbitrary limits on idiotic studies? All branches of idiocy deserve proper academic pursuit. Each idiot department will have an idiot department chair and full idiot staff, remember. No sense limiting the idiocy, what?

  • HookesLaw

    Good of the labour party to waste police time.
    Good of the police to fall for it.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Perhaps you might link to the article where you made that conclusion because clearly you haven’t read this one.

    • Daniel Maris

      Good of the Police to recognise potential crime where it exists.

  • George_Arseborne

    A con man let loose. Anyway

    • neotelemachus

      Push off Idiot #5.

  • kyalami

    Dodgy character. How did he get to be a conservative candidate, MP and then chairman? Reflects poorly on the Tories.

    • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

      No it doesn’t. Do you feel the same about authors and noms de plume?

      • kyalami

        I’m afraid it does, and I’m a Tory supporter.

    • realfish

      Agreed Ky. A bit like that Chucky Umunna / Mr Harrsion / Obama bloke

    • Chris Morriss

      He looks like an oik, sounds like an oik, so I assume he is an oik.

      • Daniel Maris

        He looks like an estate agent, sounds like an estate agent and so I assume he’s not a font of veracity.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          A characteristically fatuous, undignified and baseless comment.

          • Daniel Maris

            What? – you’re saying he doesn’t look like an estate agent? Care to test that empirically. I bet if you went down the high street and asked 100 people what job this man did, 60% would estate agent. 20% solicitor (hardly any better) and 10% banker.

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              Think about it for a moment. How can anybody ‘look’ like a job or profession. Your observation is based on your petty minded prejudice that estate agents, bankers and solicitors are beneath your dignity and thus useful ony as a general categorisation of derision. You assume arrogantly that your own calling is superior to a mere estate agent. Similarly, a visit to the high street where you live would, I suspect, simply reveal identical levels of prejudice and ignorance to your own. Besides, the man is probably wearing a Gieves and Hawkes suit and few estate could afford one of those.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Here’s one the police ought to investigate:-

    “While in office, Ed Balls used taxpayers’ money to subsidise the Guardian to the tune of 1% of its turnover. As Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Balls bunged Kings Place £4,899,688 between 2007 and 2010. The money went on services ranging from advertising to training courses. Guardian News & Media had a turnover of £261.9 million in 2007/2008, that year they were the lucky recipients of £2,445,787 from Balls’ department or 1% of their annual turnover.”

    Hmm. Wonder what the reaction from all the usual frothing, braying suspects of Labour Rebuttal plc would be if Gove had bunged the Daily Mail a cool £5 million?

    • dalai guevara

      No one needs to do that.
      Jeremy Cnut’s text messages have already been artistically interpreted Tracy Emin/ Banksy-style and then framed. They have a special place on the wall behind my office desk.
      “Congrats” for reminding us of it, very fitting and timely indeed.

      nb. what do you think, should I commission a Bruce Naumann version also?

      • Colonel Mustard

        Impenetrable once more.

        • dalai guevara

          It reads
          “Congrats on Brussels. Just Ofcom to go!”

          I love it, it looks good on the wall.
          Now, please: who should I call?
          Bruce Naumann or Jenny Holzer, Dan Flavin is sadly no longer available, as you might know.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            I notice the Colonel agrees with me regarding your impenetrable nonsense.

            • telemachus

              Look Chuz
              Given your incomprehensible drivvel day in day out our team do not wish your abuse

              • dalai guevara

                hahaha

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                I can at least spell drivel.

                • telemachus

                  Must be that Public School education

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Which I am very proud of.

                • telemachus

                  Of which I am very proud
                  *
                  Not quite as good as I thought

                • neotelemachus

                  Of which you are a complete idiot. Idiot.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Somebody called up the literate member of Labour’s rebuttal unit, wow.

                • GnosticBrian

                  Don’t you mean “Of which you are very proud”? Forgotten the rule about not ending a sentence with a preposition?

                • Jimmy R

                  GnosticBrian, as an outstanding genius of the greatest integrity once said, “This is the kind of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put.”

                • GnosticBrian

                  I’ve always been inspired by Whom Tyler and his magnificent leadership of the Pedant’s revolt.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  “This is nonsense up with which I will not put” (Winston Churchill)

                • GnosticBrian

                  Well he would say that, wouldn’t he….

                • neotelemachus

                  Like Balls and Hunt you mean idiot?

              • Colonel Mustard

                There you have it – “team”. A team of Labour rebuttal trolls beavering away monitoring websites and defending their masters.

                • Andy

                  They are just Fascist Scum. The Labour Party should be liquidated for its crimes against the British People.

                • dalai guevara

                  There we have it, the Colonel is fully drawn in by truly amusing declarations. Why not discuss the content that is coming your way instead? Too much work?

                  When I posted my lines to you, every single other comment started with “Burnham this, Burnham that”. Who gives a capital S about Burnham? The quality of ‘leadership’ now is what matters. That quality is comprehensively paraphrased by the artwork on my office wall.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  A somewhat inaccurate summary of our exchanges as I doubt that every machete response to your verbal undergrowth has required me to mention Burnham. But your admission of commenting purely to provoke is mildly interesting as it puts you in a similar category to telemachus – not something I would think any reasonable or objective commentator would wish for.

                  But maybe you share the same office – or building?

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Verbal undergrowth – brilliant! Thickets of impenetrable syntax springs to mind as well.

                • dalai guevara

                  Colonel, I will reveal to you and to you only that I am now in France. What strikes me about the regional centre in which I currently reside is that there are no shops boarded up, drinks are served in smaller quantities and the capitalism/socialism debate appears to pass everyone by.
                  People here don’t care about all that debt in the City of Londinium. It is not their debt. It’s ours.
                  Now, let’s be “reasonable” for once and deal with that, truthfully. The Burnham/Hunt pseudo battle is not even small beer. It’s left overs.

                • ButcombeMan

                  They are actually known, in the trade, as “Comment warriors”.

                  It is an acquired skill to spot them on some websites.

                  Here, they are fairly obvious, because they are not very good at their job and the opposition is sharper than them, most of the time.

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                I would be fascinated to know who “our team” might be.

            • dalai guevara

              I have noticed that when the Colonel understands perfectly well what ‘the message’ was, he lets go. He is a man for high ethical standards and etiquette.

              • Colonel Mustard

                Don’t flatter yourself.

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                So I see from his response.

              • telemachus

                He is a man for high ethical standards and etiquette.
                *
                There are some ethical individuals of high principle on this blog but believe me Mustard is a scurrilous rogue who trolls up and down the posts for any comment that does not fit his revanchist makhnovist agenda and then, because he has no answer for reason begins ad hominem assassination of the poster
                *
                Like many of the right he sits in bucolic bliss in his Home Counties idyll, shotgun at the crook and retriever at feet
                *
                But in truth he is a sad man afraid of new horizons and new ideas from afar
                He never read Henry Ford’s dictum that if the poor workers have a decent wage then the whole of society prospers
                *
                Andy tries to arrange appointments for some with Pierrepoint. As a student of the middle ages I think Nicholas would be more justly dispatched with boiling oil

                • neotelemachus

                  What a nasty piece of work you are Idiot #1. Typical National Socialist. Instead of boiling oil your kind preferred gas did they not?

                • dalai guevara

                  Nothing to worry about then, just like our future King who now leads the way with great panache.
                  New ideas will pass down to the counrtyside as they come from the countryside.

                • Michele Keighley

                  “You Sir, should be horse whipped!” – I have an MA from Oxford, and so do you so you say – so I expect you to understand the quotation in the right context.

                • telemachus

                  “the highest office of our nation” ???

                  *

                  Would you trust the money’s gonna go to the rich buggers who can well do without the 5% tax cut?”
                  *
                  You see I also have a doctorate from the self same institution

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Yes, lefties are often obsessed with their professed intellectualism and academic qualifications. All part of their natural inclination to assert and declaim against dissent. Of course for a true Englishman boasting about one’s credentials and qualifications in public is not the mark of a modest gentleman.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Nobody who possesses such qualifications would make such a boast.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Pure fantasy of course, garnished with a revelation of malice that speaks more of your sadness than mine. I do try to restrict ad hominem responses to you when your more inane, mischievous and half-witted “commentary” warrants it.

                  But you will find if you care to check the record that I comment more on the articles themselves than on other comments and my criticism is more often directed at the amorphous leftist collective or its public agents like the repulsive Burnham than individuals here – in sharp contrast to you and your comrades who conduct yourselves precisely in the manner you have hypocritically attributed to me, thus:-

                  “trolls up and down the posts for any comment that does not fit his (authoritarian socialist) agenda and then, because he has no answer for reason begins ad hominem assassination of the poster”.

                  Or perhaps in your narrow, fevered world of braying assertions how others should be made to conform those silly, anachronistic labels “revanchist” and “makhnovist” are not considered ad hominem.

                  As for new horizons and new ideas I venture mine have been and are broader than yours but you view me through a narrow prism of bigotry. The fact that my comments seem to tax you so much that you have to fantasise about having me boiled alive speaks volumes about you and your famous but so often self-defeated “reasonableness and caring”.

                  PS As another factual aside I do not live in the Home Counties and do not own a shotgun or a retriever. But it’s useful to know you are demonstrating Labour’s ethos as the party of lies, lying and liars. Whatever would you do if you had to argue your case without distorting the truth, manipulating the language or smearing anyone who dares to dissent from your coercive orthodoxies.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          I call him the Riddler because nothing he says ever makes sense.

          • telemachus

            Self criticism was clearly a strong point at your Public School

            • neotelemachus

              Didn’t you once tell us you were at Oxford? A lie I presume?

              • Andy

                Most things he says are lies, so one assumes that was also a lie. The only honest thing he will ever do in this world, like all scumbag Socialists, is the leaving of it.

                • neotelemachus

                  One can onły hope that day will soon come. Annoying little parasite.

                • Andy

                  One rather hopes that day will dawn with him at the end of a length of Italian Hemp.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  They say a nice blend of melted paraffin and bees wax is the best conditioner for that type of hemp… slicker’n snot on a doorknob, those ropes get to be.

                • telemachus

                  I posted the last before I got this far

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  I see idiot #2 is at large as well!

                • neotelemachus

                  Full house tonight. Labtard Goebels unit on active duty. Time to have some fun with the obtuse retards.

                • Daniel Maris

                  I see reasoned debate is dead.

                • telemachus

                  With the help of Pierrepoint

              • telemachus

                I got there on merit from my egalitarian Northern School for which my family had to pay not a penny

                • neotelemachus

                  Still don’t believe you. You do not have the erudition or even the spelling of an MA.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Nobody who attended Oxford could possibly construct arguments as poorly as you do.

          • neotelemachus

            I call him Idiot #3 because he is an idiot, and craphat because he lies that he was a soldier.

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              There’s no arguing with that logic.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Well yes, it is airtight, now that you mention it.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Afternoon Viceroy. on the lookout for socialist nutters?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Ever vigilant.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Good man!

    • telemachus

      Attribution sir attribution
      Could this be crap from Guido?

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        No, we call it the truth in Britain. Typical of the fetid Balls.

        • telemachus

          “yes because all of our money was wasted by that fetid scum Brown and Balls.”
          Second time in a week
          Let us have something original not copied from Staines

          • Andy

            Frightened of Guido are we ? Good, good: you should be. He has the measure of you evil National Socialists.

            • Russell

              Still a puzzle to me why the Tories don’t read and digest Guido every day and immediately attack the, usually, Labour recipient of his embarrassing blogs. Obviously nobody works in Tory PR and/or they don’t have any attack dogs, unlike labour who appear every 5 minutes to castigate the Conservatives on both BBC and Sky.

              • Andy

                Well for a start the Tories are not allowed on the BBC !! Its ethnic cleansing !

                • Russell

                  I’m sure they could make some effort to get on Sky and even the BBC (If they are denied any opportunity by the BBC to expose Labour lies, spin,smear etc. they should hammer this home in the press daily).
                  As for the BBC generally, there is a golden opportunity to sell it off for a few £billion and make the buyers go subscription, delighting licence fee payers with a £145.50 per year saving on their cost of living and destroying Labours propaganda broadcasting service.
                  If they were really interested in winning in 2015 why haven’t they radically changed postal voting rules?
                  The Tories don’t deserve to win in 2015 based on their dire performance, I hope many are going to lose their seats to UKIP.
                  A vote for the Tories will let labour win…vote UKIP.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Guido is toxic, and the LibLabCon monolith does not approve of him. The process of Cameroonian detoxification requires that Guido be ignored, obviously.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Very interesting timing. This announcement is made the day after Starmer finally leaves post (thank God).

    • In2minds

      Are you sure it’s legal to speak of Starmer thus? Also Alison Saunders, to replace Starmer, also got an LL.B from Leeds. If she is of of the same stuff I wonder how long she takes to become a celeb?

    • telemachus

      Poor Starmer
      What a boring retirement
      “He has a strong reputation in Caribbean death row cases and is also called to the bar in in the Bahamas, Belize, St Vincent, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.”

      • neotelemachus

        One needs an MA from Oxbridge not, to cut and paste from wiki Idiot #1.

  • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

    GS/MG: we are both very happy about this.

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