Britain’s richest man is leaving the country in favour of Monaco, the Telegraph can disclose.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the petrochemical engineer who was named the UK’s wealthiest individual and was knighted earlier in the summer, has decided to move to the Principality.
It is understood that the two other senior executives at Ineos, Andy Currie and John Reece, have also decided to move with him. His company will remain “headquartered” in London.
The reasons behind the relocation are not known although Monaco is well known as a tax haven and Sir Jim owns a large property on the French riviera.
The billionaire, who owns a majority stake in Ineos, has also failed in a legal bid to overturn Scotland’s ban on shale gas fracking and has previously complained about Britain’s restrictive business and tax environment.
The decision to relocate to Monaco may be seen as a blow for Theresa May as the businessman is a high-profile supporter of Brexit and has recently begun snapping up well-known British brands including Belstaff and developing plans for a “spiritual successor” to the discontinued Landrover Defender.
Ineos owns the Grangemouth refinery in Scotland
In 2016, it was announced to much fanfare that Ineos – Sir Jim’s petrochemical company – was returning to the UK from Switzerland in a move that was seen to show that the businessman had renewed faith in the UK.
A spokesman for the company refused to comment on the relocation of Sir Jim and his fellow senior executives.
relocation of Sir Jim and his fellow senior executives.
However, in a statement, the firm said: “Ineos is committed to its business base in London and plans to remain headquartered in London for the foreseeable future.”
Earlier this year, Sir Jim was named the country’s richest man and in June was awarded a Knighthood. The British born industrialist, whose fortune stands at £21.05 billion, has a reputation from being publicity shy, but his business appears to have grown rapidly.
Since his return to the UK Sir Jim has vowed to roll out a spiritual successor to the Landrover Defender – but only with Government funding.
The 65-year-old’s wealth increased from £15.3bn last year, which The Sunday Times reported is mostly due to the newspaper having greater detail about the businessman’s assets, adding £50m for two super-yachts, hotel interests in The New Forest and a large property portfolio.
The New Forest and a large property portfolio.
Ineos sells more than 60m tons of chemicals annually for use in the packaging, food, construction, textile, white goods, and car manufacturing industries, employing more than 18,500 staff. Sir Jim is the chairman and CEO of Ineos, Britain’s largest privately owned company.
Ineos’s director Andy Currie and finance director John Reece shared in his fortunes, joining Sir Jim in the top 20, taking joint 16th place with fortunes of £7 billion each.
The businessman has faced controversy in recent years because of his involvement in a series of industrial disputes and work in fracking.
In 2010, the firm moved its headquarters to Lausanne in Switzerland in order to save an estimated €450m (£317.5m) in tax over four years. The move followed a falling out with the then Labour government when it refused to let the firm defer a £350m VAT payment.
Sir Jim vented his frustration at the time saying he had not been able to make his case directly to a government minister. A source close to the company told the Telegraph at the time: “Things may change after the election, but not enough. Britain is no longer competitive.”