She was originally just Michelle Mone, the perfect self-made woman. Leaving school at 15, without a diploma, she tried her hand at modeling before launching her bra brand ten years later with her husband. To aid success, it has diversified into weight loss pills, self-tanners and even … property development in Dubai.
If there are shadows hanging over the financial success of his companies, his career at the age of 51 crystallizes the conservative politicians’ dreams of success. So much so that in 2015 the Scottish woman was knighted and appointed to the House of Lords by Prime Minister David Cameron.
A £203m deal
When the Covid-19 epidemic hit, Baroness Mone, her now official name, saw it as an opportunity to get rich. In May 2020, she contacted the two ministers responsible for supplying the country with personal protective equipment via their personal email. It ensures that it can supply the country via its “Team in Hong Kong”.
The company she recommends, PPE Medpro, does not yet exist legally. It will be a few days later when Baroness Mone’s name will be added to the “VIP list” set up during the Covid crisis, made up of companies close to the Conservative Party. The company quickly signs a contract worth 203 million pounds sterling (235 million euros).
A conflict of interest? Not in the least, replies the company, which ensures that the baroness is neither involved nor a shareholder in PPE Medpro. However, in September 2020 one of the trusts held by his companion Doug Barrowman in the Isle of Man tax haven received two payments of at least 65 million pounds sterling (75 million euros) from the company, according to an internal investigation by the HSBC bank and revealed by the daily The Guardian.
From there, the trust makes two further payments: one of £28.8m (€33.3m) to a trust whose beneficiaries are Michelle Mone and her three children, and the other of £45.8m (€53m) to Doug Barrowman’s Isle of Man personal bank account.
The Conservative Party’s “VIP List”
These revelations strengthen suspicion against the baroness, who is already under investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the House of Lords. Above all, they confirm the smell of sulfur surrounding the contracts awarded via the government’s VIP list.
73 contracts for the purchase of personal protective equipment or Covid-19 tests are thus considered questionable by the charity Transparency International UK. Among them, 27 were attributed to relatives of the Conservative Party, for an amount of 2.1 billion pounds sterling (2.43 billion euros).
The High Court of Justice has also ruled these contracts illegal as they were awarded without a public tender and competition. Although its defenders believe that the urgency of the situation justified these express conditions.
The proliferation of corruption scandals, influence peddling or nepotism within the Conservative Party in recent years reinforces the sense of its moral decay. Last year, former Prime Minister David Cameron was accused of lobbying for a financial company, Greensill Capital.
Following the conflict of interest ruling of MP and former Conservative minister Owen Paterson, national media discovered that twenty-five Tory MPs, one Labor and one Liberal Democrat were working part-time as consultants for private companies, four of whom had thus more than doubled their annual elected salary , which amounted to £81,932 (€94,860).
Finally, the renovation work on Boris Johnson’s official apartment had originally been paid for by a party donor before the Prime Minister, faced with the scandal, felt obliged to reimburse them.