IOMA engaged bankrupt man as a consultant

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A businessman who quit as chairman of a quango managing UK public funds after it emerged he had been declared bankrupt was engaged as a consultant with Manx firm IOMA.

Tony Caplin hit the headlines last month over revelations he had been appointed by UK premier David Cameron to chair the Public Works Loan Board despite being made bankrupt in 2012 with debts of more than £3m.

Mr Caplin subsequently resigned his chairmanship of the Treasury board which is responsible for multi-million pound loans for infrastructure projects.

Now details have emerged of the former Tory party chief operating officer’s business links to the Isle of Man.

It’s been widely reported that he was director of Manx-registered Kellmar Ltd that ceased trading in February 2012. And now the Manx Independent has learned he was taken on by island-based IOMA as a consultant in 2013.

A spokesman for the company said: ‘I can confirm that Mr Caplin was engaged by the company’s former CEO as an external consultant at the time he was on the board of the Treasury.

‘He was engaged for a short-term, one-off project which was not related to day-to-day client focused business and was paid for this project; he was not retained. It is company policy not to comment on the terms relating to any supplier or the nature of their engagement. We have no additional comment to make.’

UK newspaper reports suggest Kellmar may have fallen victim to a $2bn Venezuelan bond scam - this may be the reason for Mr Caplin’s bankruptcy.

A letter, purporting to come from the president of the Central Bank of Venezuela, stated the company was due to be the beneficiary of a $2bn (£1.2bn) Venezuelan bond - paying annual interest of 9.2 per cent. But no bond was ever transferred and the Central Bank’s president Nelson Merentes has denied he ever signed any such bonds over.

Mr Caplin was appointed to PWLB by the Labour government in 2003. But he was reappointed and made chairman by David Cameron 10 years later. Labour has accused the Tory leader of a serious error of judgement. Downing Street said Mr Caplin should have declared he was bankrupt.

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