Categorized | UK

Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi owns property worth more than £25m

MP for Stratford-upon-Avon spent £10m on properties in last 18 months, adding to his £13.75m house in London’s Belgravia.

Nadhim Zahawi
 Nadhim Zahawi bought the six-storey house on an exclusive Belgravia street in 2013. Photograph: David M Benett/Getty Images for Bell Pottinger

A Conservative MP has spent more than £25m buying a six-storey central London house and a string of commercial properties over the past three years, earning him hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in rental income on top of his parliamentary salary.

Nadhim Zahawi, who is also a director of an oil company operating in Kurdistan, spent £10m on the commercial sites in the 18 months to December, adding to a family portfolio that includes a stucco property in one of the most exclusive streets in Belgravia, central London.

Zahawi bought the Belgravia house, which is close to former prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s long-time home, with his wife Lana for £13.75m in 2013. The couple have applied for planning permission to extend the basement and put in a swimming pool as part of a major overhaul. They also asked to turn the property, which had been divided into three flats, into a single residence.

Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi lands job with oil firm Gulf Keystone.

The commercial properties – purchased through a company Zahawi owns with his wife – include the former premises of a Brighton restaurant called Fishy Fishy once run by the TV presenter Dermot O’Leary. The MP for Stratford-upon-Avon also bought other properties in London and Walton-on-Thames.

The commercial properties were bought through a company called Zahawi & Zahawi, which the MP set up a month after he was elected in 2010. He and his wife each own half the company, which files “small company” accounts. According to its accounts, it had shareholder funds of £174,675 last year. The previous year, it had funds of £179,083.

Its purchases include a property on Fulham Road in London worth £2.7m and which is currently used by the estate agents Savills.

Another property in Wimbledon is occupied by a NatWest bank branch and offices. Updated land registry documents are not available, but it was last sold for £5.25m in 2012. A WH Smith operates from Zahawi’s premises in Walton-on-Thames, which cost £1.32m.

The purchases were funded by a series of loans from Santander bank. It is not clear from the documents how much Santander has loaned the MP’s company.

Zahawi and his wife also own a house in Putney, bought before he became an MP and which is now rented to private tenants, and a livery in Warwickshire.

The string of purchases is likely to raise questions about Zahawi’s extensive business interests outside parliament.

MP stands to make £1.5m from Kurdistan oil company sale

Zahawi says he has listed the purchases on the MPs’ register of interests and that his first priority was his constituency work. “If I were lucky enough to be made a minister one day, I would of course take a pay cut and give up all outside interests so I could be part of the leadership of a department as well as continue as an effective MP for Stratford-on-Avon,” he said.

“My first priority, before anything else, is my constituency work and I would never, or have never, let anything get in the way of this. Before entering politics, I was a businessman. I think it is healthy for politics for backbench politicians to have outside interests that are properly declared, as if this were not possible it would be doing politics a disservice by only making it attractive to career politicians rather than to people from a wide variety of professional backgrounds.

“My private business is conducted in the normal way any private business would be. Zahawi & Zahawi requested best offers for loans from a number of financial institutions for a business plan that it wanted to execute and Santander won the business.”

The Guardian previously revealed that Zahawi was granted “performance units” – a form of bonus – just before it emerged that China’s state-owned oil company Sinopec was in talks to buy Gulf Keystone, which is currently valued at £350m.

Zahawi’s stake and those of two other directors would be worth 2% if the business was sold in the next year, valuing the overall holding at at least £7m. The MP’s share would amount to £1.4m, a fifth of the directors’ pot.

Zahawi joined Gulf Keystone in July 2015 last year. As chief strategy officer, he earns a monthly salary of £20,125. He has also been receiving regular bonus payments of up to £26,000 for advising the company.

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