In his first interview since questions were raised about his tax affairs, Labour donor Dale Vince tells Channel 4 News that he has “no skeletons in my wardrobe”.
The green energy pioneer gave £250,000 to the Labour Party last week, becoming their single biggest donor so far this year.
The founder of renewable energy provider Ecotricity, said to be worth more than £100m, has been accused of taking out £3.2m out of his own company through an interest-free loan.
The allegation is potentially embarrassing for Labour leader Ed Miliband, who has gone on the offensive, accusing David Cameron of being a “dodgy prime minister surrounded by dodgy donors” who have avoided paying tax.
However, Mr Vince has told Channel 4 News that it is common for people to borrow money from their own company, adding that he would repay the loan in 12 months: “There are no skeletons in my wardrobe. I think it is a smear and it’s a very unfortunate thing.
“There is no delay in paying tax. The company has paid tax on it. I’d pay tax on the rate of interest, that’s below market and the loan will be repaid probably in about 12 month’s time. It’s simply a loan.
Paying tax according to tax rules is not avoiding tax. Dale Vince
“It’s not a big deal.”
Mr Vince said that avoiding tax is based on tax havens, and “having secret Swiss bank accounts”, adding: “Paying tax according to tax rules is not avoiding tax.”
The company loan given to Mr Vince is said to be completely legal and relatively routine, allowing those who take advantage of the mechanism to delay when they pay tax on income earned through their company.