I'm going to leave the politics to others. The tax part of the Zahawi story, and therefore my role, feels over. But I wanted to sign off by correcting three takes which we’re going to hear a lot of, and I think are wrong.
1. This was David vs Goliath, and David won!

No – Zahawi and his advisers made the tactical mistake of accidentally SLAPPing someone with plenty of financial resources, time, litigation experience, and plenty of contacts and friends in the legal, tax and media worlds.
I’m sure Zahawi spent a small fortune on advisers – but my team would probably have cost ten times as much (had they charged me). Goliath accidentally started a fight with a bigger Goliath.
That hides the unpleasant truth that the basic SLAPP strategy remains sound. In reality, when Goliath picks on David, Goliath will almost always win. That’s how our libel laws work, and it’s a disgrace.
2. The lamestream media missed this story because they were useless/corrupt!
I only started looking at ministers because of the weird FOIA experience Jim Pickard (FT) and I had. in June/July 2022.
I only started looking at Zahawi because of the astonishing Anna Issac (Independent) report that Zahawi’s finances had been investigated by the NCA and HMRC... (we still don't know if that's YouGov or something else)
... and the Michael Savage and Jon Ungoed-Thomas story (Guardian) soon after that a “red flag” had been raised by the Cabinet Office over Zahawi’s appointment.
Zahawi’s initial explanations were disproved thanks to investigative work from Billy Kimber and George Greenwood (Times).
Zahawi’s attempt to sue me was then covered in The Times and briefly became widely shared on social media.
But it then became a very hard story to cover. I continued to dig, sending correspondence to Zahawi’s lawyers and ultimately referring them to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.
It was complicated, relied upon believing my rather technical claims, and was in the teeth of firm denials from Zahawi and legal threats from his lawyers.
There was also something of an overdose of political news at the time. So it had little attention in the press or, for that matter, in social media.
But still, some papers covered it, particularly the specialist legal press. Catrin Griffiths at The Lawyer was fearless.
And Laith Al-Khalaf and Sabah Meddings wrote, and the Sunday Times devoted space, to a lengthy profile of me, focussing on Zahawi.
Probably Zahawi’s litigation/stonewalling would have killed the story, but then Ashley Armstrong at The Sun blew the doors off with her scoop about the settlement:
Followed a week later by Anna Issac (again! but now at the Guardian) with another scoop: Zahawi had paid 30% penalties.
After that, everyone was on the story – newspapers, broadcast media, BBC, ITV, Sky News etc. Acres of coverage, and large numbers of journalists delving further into Zahawi’s background.
So without the work of newspaper journalists, I wouldn’t have started looking at Zahawi, wouldn’t have been able to conclude that Zahawi was not telling the truth, wouldn’t have even suspected that a settlement had been made (with penalties!)...
This isn’t a story of media failure – it’s a story of effective scrutiny from all corners of the media, in the teeth of denials and legal threats.
3. HMRC lied to Neidle and Pickard when they said no Minister was under enquiry
The timeline is still very unclear, but it appears that Zahawi was under investigation for more than a year prior to his appointment as Chancellor.
However, it does not seem he was under enquiry – an enquiry being a formal status that lets HMRC freeze limitation periods and require delivery of documents.
I am not sure I understand why there wasn’t an enquiry. But if correct, HMRC’s response to me was accurate.
I didn’t ask if a Minister was under “investigation” because there is no formal legal concept of an “investigation” and HMRC would, rightly, have said that it was therefore too imprecise a question for them to answer.
If you'd like to subscribe to future updates, absolutely none of which will be about Mr Zahawi, then here's the link:
And double apologies. I am reliably informed that Billy Kimber is a character in Peaky Blinders who did not have a pivotal role in the Zahawi affair. @billykenber on the other hand is an investigative reporter at the Times, and he did.

Recommended by
Recommendations from around the web and our community.

Important thread by @DanNeidle, the tax lawyer at the heart of the Zahawi revelations. Investigative journalists like @Annaisaac have played an absolute blinder, but the reality remains that it is too easy for high-profile people to use SLAPP lawsuits to silence critics.