Singapore—He came, stayed for two years, and seems to have gone back to the United Kingdom.
Sir James Dyson, pioneer businessman in vacuum technology and prominent Brexiteer, made Singapore his primary residence in 2019.
He announced at that time that his company would concentrate on the Asian market and said that his choice to move to Singapore was a commercial decision that had nothing to do with Brexit.
But, as he had made his pro-Brexit views plain to all, his move to tax haven Singapore drew sharp criticism.
However, filings made by companies he controls, which include his family office, show that he is now based predominantly in the UK, according to a Bloomberg report.
Sir James, 73, has not yet commented on reports on his move, although a spokesperson for Dyson has is quoted by Bloomberg as saying, “We do not comment on private family matters and nothing has changed in respect of the company. The structure of the group and the business rationale underpinning it are unaltered.”
Critics have called out Sir James afresh after he texted UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in March last year for assurance that the tax status of the staff of his company would remain the same if they moved to the UK to make ventilators for people who had Covid.
The BBC reported on Wednesday (Apr 21) that Mr Johnson promised to take care of the matter.
Mr Johnson messaged the billionaire saying, “I will fix it tomo! We need you. It looks fantastic”.
He later defended his conduct in a row over lobbying by Sir James.
He said he had no regrets trying to get more ventilators needed for the pandemic, saying that any prime minister would have done the same.
He told the House of Commons on Wednesday (Apr 21), “I make absolutely no apology at all for shifting heaven and earth and doing everything I possibly could…to secure ventilators for people in this country.”
But he was criticised by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who claimed there was “one rule for those who have the prime minister’s phone number and another for everybody else”.
Sir James, whose company made bagless vacuum cleaners popular, has had a strong presence in Singapore in the past two years, and has hired employees in Singapore to work at Weybourne, his family office.
In 2019, he bought a penthouse worth S$74 million, only to sell it at a loss, at S$62 million, the following year.
It was announced last week that Dyson is looking to hire 250 more engineers and scientists in Singapore over the next five years in line with its growth in the robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence departments.
On Apr 14 Dyson said that it will move into its new global headquarters at the St James Power Station “shortly,” reported Channel News Asia.
“Here in Singapore, we are expanding in specific areas such as robots, machine learning, artificial intelligence and connectivity. And we are looking to hire experts in that field, which goes across all products,” said Dyson’s chief executive officer Roland Krueger.
In addition to offering more jobs, the firm will also establish a new global cybersecurity centre in Singapore.
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