The Conservative Party are today refusing to comment on the legal status of Grant Shapps’ internet market operations — which may have seen the embattled party chairman trading as a US “corporation” without being anything of the kind.
It is already known that the address listed for Shapps’ get-rich-quick schemes from 2002-2005 was a residential property in suburban Pennsylvania, USA. State authorities previously told The Guardian:
“If a company had been trading from Pennsylvania then it would have to be registered here. Otherwise there are fines of $500”
While Companies House records show that Shapps did form a British company, How To Corp Limited in March 2005 — less than two months before he became an MP despite claims this week that the business was being wound up — the legal status of his enterprise prior to this point remain something of a mystery.
The contact details given on websites were:
The “How To” Corporation
1125 Gill Hall Road, Jefferson Hills, PA 15025
Tel 206-984-1365 Fax 206-350-5397
Another How To Corp Ltd was previously incorporated in 2002 by the same formation agents used by Shapps for another business, but this was struck off without filing any accounts or appointing directors. A US company of this name was registered in New York from 2002 to 2010 but has no obvious connection with Shapps.
This all leads us to the rather awkward question as to whether Grant Shapps was publishing websites for three years citing a “corporation” — a term with specific legal meaning in many jurisdictions, including Pennsylvania — which did not actually exist.
While not being drawn on queries put by Scrapbook, a Tory source categorically denied any suggestion of illegality on the part of the party chairman.
When it comes to his murky business history, fires are now breaking out more quickly than Shapps can put them out.