Riddle of businessman’s four obscure firms that got £40m of furlough cash… and his ‘European corporate headquarters’ is a virtual mailbox in East London
Up to £40million of furlough cash was paid in a single month to a set of companies that appear to have no staff.
The four British firms, set up by an Indian entrepreneur, each claimed between £5million and £10million in May this year.
They were founded by Rajanish Garibe, 44, an elusive businessman whose firms’ ‘Europe corporate headquarters’ turned out to be a virtual mailbox in east London.
The Treasury says the furlough scheme has been abused and there are 23,000 ongoing inquiries into ‘incorrect’ payments
The Treasury paid out the sums from its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to his companies despite their shoddy or non-existent websites and no evidence of any actual staff.
The website of Domain Corporation Ltd – supposedly a tech consultancy – is so amateur that it contains dummy text.
The three other firms – Domain Foundation, Domain International School and Domain Research Hospital – do not even seem to have websites.
Yet between them, they claimed enough furlough money in May to have covered the wages of 10,000 staff earning £50,000 salaries.
The Treasury says the furlough scheme has been abused and there are 23,000 ongoing inquiries into ‘incorrect’ payments.
When reporters from the Financial Times tried to contact Garibe, they did not hear from him, but there was a flurry of filings at Companies House ‘updating’ the records to suggest he was no longer a director of the firms.
The Daily Mail sent emails to the companies asking about the £40million and last night received a reply from Maria James, managing director, who stated Garibe had resigned from the companies in early March before the pandemic.
She declined to answer any questions.
Last night, HMRC said it could not comment on ongoing cases, but added: ‘We are taking tough action to tackle fraudulent and criminal behaviour.’