Sarah Brown’s unpatriotic office

28 January 2014

2:24 PM

28 January 2014

2:24 PM

‘[T]he old tax havens have no place in this new world. We now call on all countries to apply international standards,’ said Gordon Brown back in 2009 when he was prime minister. Mr Steerpike only mentions this because Brown’s philanthropist wife Sarah has made an odd choice of home for her charity.

Sarah Brown is the founder and Executive Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education – a charitable organisation whose members include heavyweights such as Accenture, Chevron and Tata. The organisation admirably aims to bring ‘the business community together to accelerate progress in delivering quality education for all of the world’s children and youth.’


But the GBCfE is based in one of the most secretive tax jurisdictions in the world – Delaware, a state affectionately known by tax lawyers of Mr S’s acquaintance as ‘the Cayman Islands of North America’.

The charity’s registered office is 1209 North Orange Street, a single story building which is the legal address of 285,000 businesses according to the New York Times. That New York Times profile said that 1209 North Orange Street is home to ‘big corporations, small-time businesses, rogues, scoundrels and worse’. It was, for example, a business address of disgraced American businessman Timothy S. Durham, known as ‘the Midwest Madoff’, who was convicted of a $207 million fraud last year.

What might have drawn Sarah Brown to such an infamous site in so controversial a state? And is there enough desk-space at 1209 to house more than a quarter of a million tenants?

Mr S dreams of the day when British prime ministers are not duped by American presidents into criticising our low tax financial centres; it’s just a ruse to divert attention from, and more business to, American havens. Besides, Sarah Brown should be more patriotic and back the British tax system, which treats recognised charities very generously indeed.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • Ciaran_J_Goggins

    I wouldn’t mind starting a childrens charity to earn me some wonga and buy me some treats.

    • DerekGHaslam

      I have photos of young boys if you are interested. As a Worshipful Brother in “Watch & Ward 8809” I can get you cost price!

      • Ciaran_J_Goggins

        How did you know that I am interested in artistic photos of fit young lads? You will be mentioning my arrest for rape in 2004 next at Hertfordshire and my membership of PIE. You nasty little troll.

        • DerekGHaslam

          Dead Man Walking.

          • Ciaran_G_Peckerhead

            It cannot beat cottaging surely?

  • David Booth.

    Why hasn’t this story been given a higher profile in the mainstream press? It couldn’t possibly be that Gordon Brown still has more power than we think to discourage investigations into a ???iffy charity run by his wife.

  • Epimenides

    In the pic McRuin is pointing to where she parked her broomstick.

  • Lord Edmund Moletrousers

    Sarah Brown is only slightly less Evil but a fair bit less Ugly than Cherrie Blair

    • Doggie Roussel

      Big bum and dodgy legs though…

      • CiaransWellbent

        Who, Gordon?

  • Colonel Mustard

    Labour – always do as say not as we do.

    From Brown to Chukka hypocrites the lot of them.

    • Holly

      Where are all the regular Labour supporters to give their gushing support for Mr & Mrs Brown’s life of luxury funded off the backs of other people’s misery and suffering?
      Not like them to miss an opportunity to tell us how ‘marvellous’ these two are.

  • Mr_J_Smith

    Compared to the hypocrisy it’s a minor side issue for your tax lawyer acquaintances to consider, but at approx 300 miles northwest of Jamaica the Cayman Islands are in fact the ‘Cayman Islands of North America’.

  • Curnonsky

    Many celebs register their “charities” in Delaware because their annual filings are kept confidential and there is little or no oversight. So if saving the planet requires travel via private jet, luxury accommodations, staff of well-paid flunkies and so on, no-one’s the wiser.

    • HookesLaw

      Yes I imagine its the secrecy which is the main attraction. But G.Brown is obsessed with things American, Kededdyesque and with the New England lefty clique.

  • aron lipshitz

    UK Charities risk having their operations and accounts scrutinised by the Charity Commissioner. Delaware is even dodgier that the Dutch Antillies or Panama for funny money.

  • dolusbonus

    Brown and his hausfrau are unspeakable…

    He is modelling himself on Ted “The Incredible Sulk” Heath…. both, rejected by the electorate turned on them and spent their later years giving the finger to the people that they had failed to represent.

    Ted Heath never explained where the fortune he amassed came from and now Brown appears about to exploit his brief and catastrophic tenure of high office by amassing a considerable fortune, a la Blair, and seeking vengeance from those who mercifully shortened his tenure of high office.

    • HookesLaw

      I think Heath actually wrote books which made money. He was not that wealthy – 5million including his nice house in Salisbury Cathedral close.

      • Doggie Roussel

        Believe me, writing books only makes a very few rich, for example J K Rowling. The majority of authors struggle to make a decent crust and the old bag of bile’s book were in no way best sellers.

        How Heath amassed his money on his parliamentary salaries remains a mystery.

        • David Booth.

          I think we can safely assume it was for favours granted and influence peddled.

          • Doggie Roussel

            Perhaps he also bent down to pick up the soap in his shower!

      • David Booth.

        Plus of course the rather expensive Morning Cloud. Heaths wealth was rather like a cloud in that it was large and didn’t appear to have anything to support it!

  • aanpakkuh

    Anyone checked whether Ms. Brown or the taxpayer paid for all those lengthy phone calls from Downing Street?

  • John Lea

    Gawd, what an awful pair. Self-serving creeps, both of them.

  • saffrin

    Anyone found out how much Mr Charity Brown coughed up to charity out of his own pocket during his time as MP/PM?
    Not one penny piece I bet.

  • GnosticBrian

    “…Sarah Brown should be more patriotic and back the British tax system, which treats RECOGNISED charities very generously indeed…” – and would Sarah’s “charity” be recognised as such in the UK?

    • Andy

      Probably not. But she would have to lodge accounts with the Charities Commissioners and these are open documents.

    • David Booth.

      You just get the impression that the only people likely to benefit from this charity will have to have the surname Brown.

  • volker_lives

    Well at least Delaware is a solid blue (Democrat) state – doesn’t that justify it?

  • pilsden

    Why if it is a charity would it need to be in a tax haven ?

    • Donafugata

      Exactly, this needs further scrutiny or does being a charity make tax dodging all right?

    • DWWolds

      I think you will find that it is not actually registered as a charity – at least not in the UK.

    • dolusbonus

      I believe you have smelt a rat… and believe me, it’s a monster !

  • tribalterror

    I am sure Margaret Hodge and her fans at the BBC will be all over this just as they were with that other well known tax dodging company Stemcor…

  • Doggie Roussel

    Just another example of Labour’s manifest hypocrisy and avarice.

    If you thought Blair was bad, just wait till you see what the Cyclopean pshycopath and his barnstorming hausfrau get up to.

    Who needs emetics when you have all these “socialists” on the bandwagon.

    They should all have a motto or logo: DESTROY THE COUNTRY AND FEATHER YOUR NEST

    • Holly

      They are called Fabians.
      A wolf in sheeps clothing is their emblem.
      Blair & Brown are two perfect examples.
      On a smaller scale, but just as greedy for other folks money to fund their cushy lifestyles, are Prescott and union bods.
      And they want the public to think they are on OUR side.
      Makes me wanna puke…
      But hey, if people are daft enough to make these leeches rich, off the backs of other people’s misery, it’s THEIR money.
      Stop paying part of your union subs to the politicians, and stop giving to the charities these leeches belong to.

    • Clunking Fist


      • CiaransWellbent

        I quite enjoy a large clunking fist…….ooh matron!

  • gelert

    What ?

    I don’t believe a word of it ! The brothers don’t do this sort of thing. Next thing you will be telling us that the Mentalist’s charity is just a device for enabling him to lead a luxury lifestyle without paying for it.

  • morbidfascination

    And you are surprised at political hypocrisy because …?

  • Ruth

    Absolutely typical. Champagne socialists at their worst.