The historic London establishment was purchased by the reclusive Barclays brothers, Sir David Barclay and Sir Frederick Barclay, after their retirement 20 years ago. They now live in Monaco, a well known tax haven for the wealthy.
Panorama investigated the accounts of the high-end hotel which revealed that a series of tax reliefs has resulted in paying zero corporation tax.
The investigation comes as overseas companies like Google, Starbucks and Amazon have faced criticism from MPs for their tax avoidance strategies.
Pleading ignorance, Sir David Barclay told the BBC “We have not attended office, management or board meetings in the UK since leaving the country. My brother and I have no editorial, political or economic power in the UK.”
“They’re incredibly wealthy men who don’t pay British tax. It’s just utterly appalling.” said Conservative MP Nadine Dorries, who recently appeared on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.
As well as The Ritz, the twin brothers also own the Littlewoods home shoppping catalogue business, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator. The Times this year estimated their wealth at £2.25 billion. The Ritz hotel made a £6.7 million in profit back in 2010.
The results of the investigation will be shown tonight on BBC1 at 8.30pm. According to The Independent, the documentary was delayed by former BBC Director-General George Entwistle.
Main images: The Barclay twins receiving their knighthoods in 2004 (Getty images) and the Ritz hotel