Finanças probes British minister’s Algarve house purchase

A Tory minister avoided paying tax by using an offshore company to buy his Algarve holiday home in Vale do Lobo, the Daily Telegraph has claimed – and now the Finanças are investigating.

Stephen Hammond, a junior transport minister, used a company based in Gibraltar to buy his family’s £500,000 villa in Portugal in 2002, said the newspaper. By not owning the villa directly, he reduced his tax bill in both Britain and Portugal.

A tax specialist told the Telegraph that Hammond would have been able to avoid a “big hit of capital gains tax”. But Hammond has denied any wrong-doing and has been quoted in SOL newspaper as saying he simply behaved “in the normal way for this part of Portugal”.

Nonetheless, Portugal’s Fiscal Administration has been instructed now to “analyse the situation” and report back on any illegalities.