27 Aug 2009

Esther Rantzen's Double Dealings - A Posie Rider Investigation

Ok so I'm now a journalist! Here's my first scoop - enjoy, be appalled, write a letter, torch a car! It's about CORRUPTION!!!

Esther Rantzen (TV star from such shows as, oh you know, Crime Watch or something, and general ageless gurner) has, as we all know, been campaigning to become MP for Luton South. Rantzen has sidestepped like a crab into the runnings following MP Margaret Moran's decision to resign after her embarrassing expense claims were revealed. Ignoring the blatant fact that it'll take more than a lute to save Luton (for lute read 'nuke'), Rantzen is planning a form of slash and burn in the wake of messy politicians, and has publicly called for greater transparency in parliament. Weirdly, however, Posie's prying has revealed that the clever minx is in fact the director of a series of complex secretive companies. Listed under her directorship is the eerily named, 'Jembex', which records show is a sinister Private Unlimited Company.

Now, not being an expert on banking, money, the law, or anything really (except feminism) I consulted Sharlene Spiteri (not real name) from Companies House, a sort of business museum on the river (next to a really nice pub). Huddled in the nice pub next door, and taking painful drags on her pastel blue Sobranie, Sharlene (this is a false name) was on edge as she told me the truth about Rantzen's dealings. Concealing her face with a russet pashmina, leaving only the barest crack through which to insert aforementioned Sobranie, she confessed that in the five years she had worked there she had only come across one other private unlimited company: "They are extremely rare," she said.

PUC's are unusual, she explained very slowly and a few times, because they don't have to file accounts. An obscure legal loophole, which, despite valiant attempts, Sharlene (real name Kate) couldn't quite enable me to understand, means that a PUC avoids any kind of public scrutiny by not filing records of how money passes in and out of it. It's like eating in the dark, she sighed, eventually. Now, this strikes me as very peculiar, seeing as Rantzen is attempting to rise to the dizzy heights of Luton supremacy on a platform of transparency (not a transparent platform, which would reveal altogether too much of Rantzen's private affairs (if she happened to be wearing a dress/skirt, which of course she might not be, even though she's a woman))

Interestingly, even though the company can obscure its monetary dealings from the worthy hack through legal skulduggery, it DOES still have to produce a register of shareholders. AND Jembex's shareholder list shows that other than herself, the only other shares in the company are all owned by Rantzen's three children: Jem, Bex and Will. Why Will? Because a second company - Wilcox productions - is also headed by Rantzen, but only has her children as shareholders. It allegedly is a production company, but my investigations prove that the only production it's invested in is the production of inherited wealth. What on earth is wrong with a nice simple trust fund? Aunt Lily never went through all this hassle and I'm doing just fine!

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