Prominent Tory donors and JCB owners Anthony and Mark Bamford are understood to be the subject of a three-year long investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which could result in a bill as high as £500m according to reports.
HMRC is reportedly probing Anthony Bamford, a Tory peer, and Mark, a director of The Conservative Party Foundation, over alleged aggressive tax avoidance measures spanning two decades, according to the Guardian.
The inquiry, understood to be of a magnitude only launched by HMRC when it suspects a substantial loss of tax revenue, focuses on the tax liabilities associated with shares held offshore in Bermudan family trusts, which ultimately control the JCB digging empire.
The Bamford brothers have owned those shares since 2001, following the death of their father Joseph Bamford.
Despite the seriousness of the tax investigation, it was suggested that Anthony Bamford, who was made a Lord by David Cameron in 2013, has yet to inform parliamentary authorities about his involvement in it.
It comes as both the Conservative and Labour parties are vying for potential donors ahead of the upcoming general election.
JCB, a long-term donor to the Conservative party, has also sought to gain support from the Labour Party for its hydrogen ventures.
The Bamford brothers, who have donated over £10m to the Tories over the past two decades, have close ties with multiple former prime ministers, including Liz Truss and Boris Johnson.
The Conservative Party refused to tell the Guardian whether it continues to accept donations from the family or its businesses and declined to comment on the Bamford investigation.
Lawyers for Lord Bamford and Mark Bamford declined to comment on the record.
An HMRC spokesperson said: “We neither confirm nor deny investigations and cannot comment on identifiable taxpayers or businesses due to strict confidentiality laws.”
City A.M. also approached the government and HMRC for comment. The Bamford brothers’ lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment.