Just two months after he was knighted by the Queen for “services to business and investment”, Jim Ratcliffe, the founder and chief executive of petrochemicals company Ineos and a high-profile Brexiter, is preparing to move to the tax-free principality on the Côte d’Azur in order to avoid UK taxes on his vast wealth. His fortune is estimated at £21bn.
Ratcliffe was ranked the UK’s richest person in May after he contacted the editor of the Sunday Times rich list to complain that his wealth had been drastically underestimated. The list increased its estimate of his wealth by £15.3bn to £21bn after he provided access to the privately held accounts of Ineos, which he founded in 1998. The newspaper also increased its valuation of his mansion near Beaulieu, in the New Forest, and his two superyachts, called Hampshire and Hampshire II. The reassessment catapulted Ratcliffe from 18th to first place in the list.
Ratcliffe owns 60% of Ineos, which made profits of more than £2.2bn last year and employs 18,500 people. His top two lieutenants at Ineos, Andy Currie and John Reece, each own 20% of the company worth £7bn – making them the joint-16th richest people in the UK. Both men are reportedly considering following Ratcliffe to Monaco.
Ratcliffe has quit Britain before. He moved Ineos to Switzerland in 2010 in protest against the then Labour government’s tax regime. The relocation saved an estimated €450m (£405m) in tax. He then moved the company back to the UK in 2016 after the Conservatives returned to power and cut corporation tax from 28% to 20%.
Nearly 35 in every 100 of Monaco’s residents are millionaires.