I am underwhelmed by Sir Tom Hunter's £100k donation to the nhs.uk, not least because the 'kind-hearted billionaire' can easily afford to donate many millions, all tax deductable (tax avoidance a favourite topic with publicity seeking Sir Tom and his good friend David Moulsdale)
An email with a link to The Sun article was sent to me last week, titled, 'Kind hearted my a**! What about money for damaged OE (who he propped up) px?'
This prompted me to refresh my memory about Sir Tom Hunter's involvement with David Moulsdale and Optical Express - scroll down!
I then spent a lot of time trawling through Moulsdale's labyrinth of companies, and those of directors and shareholders, and will share some of what I discovered with you in due course.
Recommended reading before I do...
1. 'Individuals may create shell corporations to protect assets from lawsuits.'
'• Evading taxes. Wealthy people may hide money in shell corporation to shield it from taxation.'
Meanwhile, Captain Tom Moore completed 100 laps of his garden, on a zimmer frame, at the age of 100, and deserves our respect for his achievement - raising more than £17 million and counting - far more than a billionaire who simply lifted his hand to sign a cheque for a pathetic 100k!
And I think most of you will agree with Piers Morgan, who said: ‘Wouldn’t it be great if actually we didn’t feel temptation to give it [knighthood] to business people who pay money for the honour, we didn’t give it to celebrities for singing nice songs, but we give it to someone like him. That we make him Sir Tom.'
And it would be ridiculous to believe gossip that David Moulsdale skimmed millions from Optical Express over the years and put it in his off shore accounts in the Cayman Islands. As if an honest and reputable businessman would do such a thing!
About to suggest that OE's damaged patients contact Sir Tom Hunter for help I discovered that his wife, Lady Marion Agnes Hunter, has her own Trust, which funds charities that help those with visual impairments!
I wonder if Lady Agnes would consider supporting My Beautiful Eyes/OERML
• Lady Marion Agnes Hunter is married to Sir Tom Hunter
• Paul Davidson is on the board of West Coast Capital (see 8 May post)
I hope that some of you will understand this complex picture better than I do!
On a simplistic level, because Pacific Shelf 1741 Ltd has a bond, floating charge and debenture over OE's assets, presumably this gives the company (ultimately Sir Tom Hunter) total control over Optical Express should they want it.
"Hunter put up some of the money that enabled the founder, David Moulsdale, to hang on to the optician and laser eye surgery chain after Royal Bank of Scotland threatened to seize control. The bank, which had already lent £30m, became concerned that the business was spiralling out of control after Moulsdale asked for an emergency loan to pay wages.
Hunter, whose fortune was ravaged by the financial crisis, is understood to have lent Moulsdale roughly half the money needed to buy out RBS. It is thought the bank’s loans were acquired for a fraction of their face value."
Speculation was rife when Sir Tom Hunter bailed out David Moulsdale in August 2013, and my attention was recently directed to information which might explain more about Sir Tom’s interest in Optical Express.
"West Coast Capital is a hands on investor, working closely with management teams, adding value without second guessing those who know more than us.
Previous deals include public to private transactions, venture capital investments and growth capital, together with some distressed debt opportunities which came along.”
I’ll be posting more on this later.
Meanwhile, rumour suggests that OE's Birmingham store is closing soon, with more closures expected to follow.
Perhaps high street rents are no longer within OE's budget