Bosses of company that installed Grenfell Tower cladding 'pumped £2.5m into tax avoidance schemes'
- Ray Bailey and wife Belinda were director and secretary of Harley Curtain Wall
- Company went bust in 2015 allegedly owing creditors more than £1.1million
- HMRC accused it of ploughing £2.5m into two alleged tax avoidance schemes
- Harley Curtain Wall later bought by Mr Bailey's company Harley Facades Ltd
- Harley Facades installed Grenfell Tower cladding in £2.6m contract
Ray Bailey and his wife Belinda were director and secretary of Harley Curtain Wall, which went bust in 2015 allegedly owing creditors £1.1million.
Despite being liquidated with significant debts it was later bought by Harley Facades Ltd, Mr Bailey's other firm, who did the Grenfell Tower job in a contract valued at £2.6 million.
Their cladding sparked 'like a match' and helped engulf the 27-story building, it has been claimed.
Insolvency documents seen by MailOnline reveal that in September 2015 HMRC told administrators Mr and Mrs Bailey's company put huge sums into two tax avoidance schemes.
HMRC said £981,000 was paid into an 'employment benefit trust' and £1.5million was placed into a 'business benefit trust'.
MailOnline has asked Ray Bailey's other company Harley Facades Ltd to comment on the claims - it is not known what, if anything, they paid to HMRC.
Tax inspectors said it could not discuss individual cases but it is known they tried to recoup £500million from thousands accused of using these avoidance schemes.
HMRC accused Harley Curtain Wall of using a tax loophole, shut in 2015, allowing companies to pay high earners through loans - rather than salaries - offered by offshore companies or trusts.
The loans allowed them to postpone or even avoid paying income tax or national insurance contributions.
More than 16,000 Britons including footballers, singers, TV presenters, City bankers and other wealthy investors were handed huge tax bills after being accused of using these schemes.
In 2014 stars including David Beckham, Ant and Dec and Gary Lineker were all accused of using similar alleged tax-avoidance schemes.
The row over whether they were legal have been the subject of many court cases with individuals involved insisting they have paid all due taxes to the Government.
Yesterday it was revealed that Ray Bailey and his company secretary wife Belinda have enjoyed an enviable lifestyle from the product.
They live in a grand house worth around £1million in Crowborough, East Sussex, where a Porsche and a Land Rover were parked in the drive yesterday.
Mother-of-three Mrs Bailey's Facebook profile shows her sitting next to a tiger on an exotic holiday and enjoying luxurious ski trips.
But yesterday the couple were reluctant to answer questions about the tragedy.
Grenfell Tower was equipped with metal over-cladding installed by Mr Bailey's company Harley Facades Limited in a contract valued at £2.6 million, according to the firm's website.
Harley Facades is reported to have used a similar aluminium composite material to clad several high rises and public buildings throughout the UK, raising fears for the safety of thousands of other residents.
Mrs Bailey, 56, yesterday denied any knowledge about the work at Grenfell Tower, insisting there 'was nothing to say' from behind the electric gates of their property.
Her husband, 58, who entered the curtain walling business straight from university, has boasted of 25 years of 'practical experience' on Harley Facades Ltd's website.
Mr and Mrs Bailey were director and secretary of Harley Curtain Wall, which went bust in 2015.
One customer demanded £428,000 for disputed work and the company in total owed £1.18 million, it was said.
Harley Facades Ltd, Mr Bailey's other firm, has £151,000 in the bank and made £299,000 profit last year, according to its latest accounts.
The company, which installed but did not manufacture the panels fitting at Grenfell Tower, said in a statement they were a 'commonly used product in the refurbishment industry'.
Today the manufacturer Omnis Exteriors said the cladding was the cheaper more flammable version of the two offered.
Director John Cowley told the Guardian Omnis was asked to supply Reynobond PE cladding.
This is £2 cheaper per square metre than the other product Reynobond FR, whose FR stands for 'fire resistant'.
Mr Bailey, 58, said on Wednesday night: 'This is an incredibly tragic incident. Our thoughts are with the residents and their families who have suffered such a personal loss.
'We will fully support and co-operate with the investigations into this fire. At this time, we are not aware of any link between the fire and the exterior cladding to the tower.'
He was unavailable for further comment yesterday, apparently holed up at his country retreat.
His mansion has three buildings with a large, covered swimming pool attached to the main house.
The property is in the village of Crowborough, which is also home to a string of celebrities. The drive leading to the house can only be reached through locked electric gates.
Mr Bailey enjoys skiing and motorsport, and is a long time loyal fan of Tottenham Hotspur. He has three sons, twins aged 27, and a 23-year-old.
Away from work his wife appears to own a number of designer cats and belongs to a breeder's group on Facebook.
Photographs from her profile also show her enjoying holidays by the sea - apparently in Britain and abroad - and in the Alps.
Grenfell Tower was clad last year as part of an £8.6million refurbishment by builders Rydon, whose boss has insisted that its work 'met all required building controls'.
Rydon's chief executive, Robert Bond, said the work was signed off by the council's building control officials.
Mr Bond, who has four daughters in their twenties, lives in a £2million mansion on a private estate in Orpington, Kent.
He is believed to own an Aston Martin with a private 'Bond' number plate, and a silver convertible Porsche was parked outside his impressive home yesterday.
His wife Tina Bond answered the door of her mansion when asked for comment and if her husband was home.
She said, 'Thank you and goodbye,' before closing the door.
The married couple appear to share a love for classic sports cars and posed together in front a classic silver Ferrari.
Mrs Bond's Facebook account shows the family enjoy a luxury lifestyle, including holidaying on a yacht.
One photograph showed Mrs Bond and her four daughters posing in bikinis in crystal-clear waters on an exotic holiday to a destination that appears to be in south-east Asia.
The £8.6million refurbishment by Rydon and the cladding by Harley Facades Ltd will be a key issue at the public inquiry into the Grenfell blaze.
The first contractor chosen to refurbish Grenfell Tower was dropped to save cash, it was revealed today.
Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council became unhappy when preferred bidder Leadbitter told them the required works would cost £11.27 million because it was £1.6million more than they wanted to spend.
A housing report from 2013 shows that unless the price dropped the contract would be put out to tender again to ensure better 'value for money'.
Rydon would later win the work by saying it could replace windows, install a new heating system for flats and add the cladding, which experts believe accelerated the fire, for £8.7million.
The deal done after re-tendering the Grenfell Tower saved the council £2.5million.
A public inquiry into Wednesday's fire that is feared to have claimed more than 100 lives will consider whether the reduced price led to any impact on safety.
Sky News reported that sources had told them 70 people are missing and feared dead.
Rydon and Harley Facades Ltd, who installed the cladding, say the work 'met all required building regulations' and was signed off by the council's building control.
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