UK

Billionaire ‘claimed up to £6million in furlough cash’ after saying he had not taken public money

Billionaire propety tycoon who entertained England football stars on his £40m yacht ‘claimed up to £6million taxpayer furlough cash despite saying he borrowed nothing from Government during Covid pandemic’

  • John Christodoulou took up to £6million in Government furlough money
  • The billionaire had previously criticised businesses who took public cash
  • The money was taken by shell companies where he was not listed as a director
  • Christodoulou is one of Britain’s richest men with a reported £2billion fortune
  • The Cypriot recently hosted England’s Euro 2020 stars on his £40m yacht, Zeus 


One of Britain’s richest men claimed up to £6million in furlough money despite saying he had ‘borrowed nothing from the Government during Covid pandemic’.

John Christodoulou told a London audience that businesses which take money from the Government were sending the ‘wrong image’ but his group received millions from the furlough scheme according to The Times.

Mr Christodoulou is one of Britain’s richest men with a net worth of over £2billion in May according to The Sunday Times Rich List. 

The money was claimed through four shell companies which do not list Mr Christodoulou as a director but are under his control.

Mr Christodoulou owns a £40m yacht berthed in Monaco where the Cypriot billionaire lives

Blue Manchester, Blue Liverpool, YFSCR and Octagon Pier claimed between £1.3million and £2.9million in furlough cash between December 2020 and June 2021.

HM Revenue and Customs have declined to release figures from before December but these four companies would have been able to claim up to £6.5million since the beginning of the furlough scheme in April 2020.

Mr Christodoulou told an event at the National Union of Cypriots in June that: ‘We borrowed no money from the government.

‘Not just because I didn’t feel it’s the right thing to do [but] because it shows the wrong sign.’

He also claimed that he did not have to sack anyone who worked for him due to the pandemic.

The Cypriot recently hosted England’s Euro 2020 stars Mason Mount, Luke Shaw and Declan Rice on his £40million yacht, Zeus. 

The Government’s job retention scheme was wound up on September 31 and had supported over 11 million jobs which were affected by the Covid pandemic.

Mr Christodoulou (left centre) is known to rub shoulders with stars including boxer Anthony Joshua

Mr Christodoulou (left centre) is known to rub shoulders with stars including boxer Anthony Joshua

Declan Rice recently posted a pictured onboard the Zeus, Christodoulou's yacht, with fellow England stars Luke Shaw and Mason Mount

Declan Rice recently posted a pictured onboard the Zeus, Christodoulou’s yacht, with fellow England stars Luke Shaw and Mason Mount

Mr Christodoulou is the chairman of the Yianis Group and has made his reported £2billion fortune in property after fleeing to the UK as a child fleeing the Turkish invasion of his native Cyprus.

The Yianis Group is a property empire which includes hotels and offices across Europe but particularly in the UK.

Tenants in a Hackney tower block which Yianis Group owns wrote to Mr Christodoulou in October to ask for rent reductions and protested outside five-star hotels which Yianis owns in Canary Wharf.

MailOnline has contacted Yianis Group for comment. 

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