Accused of fraud by Danish authorities, Dubai based billionaire amasses $700 million by renting out London properties

Tuesday 13th October 2020 13:26 EDT

Dubai based British billionaire has aggregated nearly $700 million in exile and continues to reap benefits from his extensive property portfolio in London despite an ongoing pandemic it has emerged.

Reports suggest that Sanjay Shah, Founder of Solo Capital Partners LLP, still reaps about $250,000 a year from renting out his properties, less than half of what he accrued before Covid-19. Shah has been embroiled into accusations of dividend tax fraud in Denmark in 2015 which meant that the European country had lost equivalent of $2 billion and nearly 1% of its Gross Domestic Product. 

Originally from Marylebone, London, Shah attended King's College London for a degree in medicine, and eventually qualified as a chartered accountant. With over 20 years of banking experience in London with Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Rabobank, Shah had founded his own hedge firm employing financial experts across London and Dubai. But the firm closed in 2016 following allegations of tax fraud.

Shah and Solo Capital Partners LLP are currently under the radar of the Danish authorities in the Danish Cum-Ex scandal. According to him, his company helped investors to rapidly sell shares and claim multiple refunds on dividend taxes. Authorities have been probing hundreds of bankers, traders and lawyers in several countries as they try to account for the billions of euros in taxpayer funds that they say were reaped. But Shah says he’s being made a “scapegoat” for figuring out how to legally profit from obscure tax-code loopholes that allowed Cum-Ex trades, named for the Latin term for “With-Without.”

The Danish tax agency, Skat, have reportedly frozen as much as $3.5 bn Danish kroner of Shah’s assets, including a $20mn London mansion in a lawsuit against the former banker and his alleged associates. Reports note that the agency hasn’t seen “evidence that supports that real shares were involved in the trades relating to the dividend refunds reclaimed in the Shah universe. It looks like paper transactions with no connection to any real holding of shares.”

His lawyers have outlined that he would be arrested if he tried to fly home to London or anywhere across the Europe and must remain put in the Gulf. Denmark has not yet brought any criminal charges against Shah. In the meantime, he has denied all such allegations. In an interview with The Print, he said, “Bankers don’t have morals. Hedge-fund managers, and so on, they don’t have morals. I made the money legally.”

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