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Latest 07 May 2024

Tory property director hit with £4.5m tax bill over his own property

An apartment block in Chelsea linked to trafficking and prostitution has landed Christopher Moran with a hefty tax bill. But he’s still a director of the Conservative Party’s property portfolio.


Dr Christopher Moran, the tycoon appointed by the Conservative Party as a director of its property portfolio, has been hit with a £4.5m bill for unpaid VAT on an apartment block his company owns in Chelsea.

Moran’s company, Realreed Limited, was found to have been “careless” with the declaration of its VAT status in relation to short-term lets on over 200 self-serviced apartments in the Chelsea Cloisters building.

Chelsea Cloisters has been steeped in controversy over recent years. An exposé by the Sunday Times in 2018 revealed that it had hosted widespread trafficking and prostitution including in many apartments under the direct management of Realreed.

Despite this, the Conservative Party has kept Moran on as a director of its real-estate arm, C&UCO Properties, which is under the ultimate control of Rishi Sunak. The Tories have also kept £140,000 of donations from Realreed and £410,000 from Moran pledged individually and through his companies Christopher Moran & Co and Golden Lane Securities.

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Good Law Project’s executive director, Jo Maugham, said: “Whilst the Tories hound a working class woman, Angela Rayner, over £1,500 which tax experts don’t think she owes, a company controlled by Rishi Sunak has as its director a man who failed to pay £4.5m in tax on apartments used for trafficking and prostitution.

“It’s always one rule for the rich and another for the rest of us, isn’t it?”

Moran was appointed by the Tories in 2006 after he brokered a controversial £30m deal to sell off some of their properties, via an offshore company, to fund election campaigning. It was estimated at the time that the deal could have saved the Tories up to £1.2m in stamp duty. 

Responding to the Mirror who we worked on this story with, lawyers for Moran and Realreed say the VAT proceedings against Realreed is “currently subject to an appeal”.

The Sunday Times investigation into prostitution at Chelsea Cloisters represented a “grotesque exaggeration”, they continued, adding that the building has a “strict zero-tolerance policy towards escorts”.

“Chelsea Cloisters takes immediate and firm steps to discourage them,” they said, “and, where escorts have indeed been found to be using its rooms, taking immediate (but of course lawful and humane) steps to evict them.”