Billionaire James Dyson switches residency back to UK from S'pore

Moving out.

Lean Jinghui | April 22, 2021, 12:31 PM

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Billionaire James Dyson has relocated from Singapore back to the United Kingdom, reversing a move he made two years ago.

According to Bloomberg, Dyson, 73, now primarily lives in the U.K., according to filings for companies the billionaire controls, including for his family office Weybourne.

“We do not comment on private family matters and nothing has changed in respect of the company,” a Dyson spokesperson said, according to Bloomberg.

“The structure of the group and the business rationale underpinning it are unaltered.”

Criticism over the move

Dyson, who is worth US$29 billion (S$38.5 billion), faced criticism from U.K. lawmakers for switching to Singapore initially given his pro-Brexit stance.

This latest move comes after Dyson had bolstered his presence in Singapore for two years, liquidating U.K. companies and hiring staff in Singapore for his family office.

Now Dyson is facing another controversy.

BBC reported he had texted prime minister Boris Johnson in March 2020 to get assurance that Dyson staff wouldn’t face a change in their tax situation if they came to the U.K. to help make ventilators in response to Covid-19.

The billionaire wrote to the Treasury, but then reached out to Johnson, sparking concern over whether the prime minister followed procedures to disclose the messages.

Johnson was forced to defend his actions in parliament on April 20.

However, Dyson said in a statement on the same day that it was Johnson who initiated contact in 2020.

The ventilator project at the time of "national crisis" cost Dyson about 20 million pounds (S$37 million), required staff from Singapore and the U.K. to work around the clock, and that their exchanges were disclosed at the time to U.K. officials.

Dyson's Singapore homes: One sold

In 2019, Dyson had acquired a three-storey penthouse for US$54 million (S$71.7 million) in Singapore, but sold it at a hefty loss late last year.

The penthouse was sold to a United States citizen for S$62 million.

The Dysons also bought a bungalow near the Singapore Botanic Gardens in 2019 for S$45 million, which they still own.

The firm had previously said it intends to hire more than 2,000 people in Southeast Asia over the coming years, but then confirmed in July it would cut 900 of its 14,000 jobs globally due to the pandemic.

According to Bloomberg, the company said it would “shortly” move into a new global headquarters at an old power station in Singapore this month.

Top image via Getty Images