Livingstone defends hiring accountant

KEN LIVINGSTONE has hit back at claims he is a tax avoider following growing pressure to explain his use of an accountant and his monetary affairs.

Livingston insists he hired the accountant to handle his tax affairs because he “would have just screwed it up” himself.

The Labour candidate for London’s mayoral elections was attempting to distance himself from accusations of tax avoidance by diverting his income through a private company.

Mr Livingstone allegedly set up Silveta, allowing him to avoid paying at least £75,000 in tax.

He claimed, however, he hired an accountant subsequent to his defeat to Boris Johnson in the 2008 mayoral elections because he was travelling the world advising mayors.

He promised to publish his income annually to prove his innocence and added he is unaware how much his wife, Emma Beal, earns from Silveta, which she jointly owns with him.

“I don’t think she [Beal] ever told me [how much she earns from Silveta]”, he said, “I have no interest in managing my financial affairs.”

All mayoral candidates were obliged to publish their taxes this month, but Livingstone was accused of failing to be open after refusing to declare earnings going in and out of his company.

He added: “Now I’m going to publish my taxes every year. With the exception of LBC [where he has a radio show] everything else I earned was a one-off. If I tried to sort that out myself I’d have just screwed it up. I gave it all to the accountant.”

Related reading