By Daniel Hunter

The Ritz, one of London's most iconic and luxurious hotels, has avoided paying corporation tax for over seventeen years now.

Since the Barclay twins took over the Ritz they have used a series of tax reliefs to reduce corporation tax to zero.

The BBC's Panorama programme analysed the accounts of the hotel bought by the brothers in 1995.

The brothers said they have not run their UK companies since they retired to Monaco more than 20 years ago.

The Ritz's efforts to reduce its tax bill are legal but have raised questions at a time when another firm bought by Sir David Barclay and Sir Frederick Barclay, Littlewoods, is embroiled in a legal battle with HMRC.

"They're incredibly wealthy men who don't pay British tax. I think it is just utterly appalling," MP Nadine Dorries said.

The twins said they have had nothing to do with the running of the UK companies.

"We have not attended office, management or board meetings in the UK since leaving the country," Sir David Barclay said in a statement. "My brother and I have no editorial, political or economic power in the UK."

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