Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi’s family runs a substantial property portfolio, which sued multiple commercial tenants late last year.
This was despite the government’s guidance to negotiate with tenants to find an amiable solution to rent arrears.
The tenants that were sued comprised of a dry cleaner, barber and kebab seller after they failed to keep up with rent, after their businesses were decimated by the covid-19 pandemic, a report from The Mirror shows.
Nadhim Zahawi co-founded property firm Zahawi & Zahawi, which has a £100 million plus portfolio, including five homes worth over £17 million.
When he became a minister in 2018 the Chancellor transferred his 50% stake to his wife, who uses the maiden name Lana Jamil Saib on company documents. Their two sons are listed as directors.
A solicitor for Zahawi & Zahawi said in December 2021: “My client has been and continues to be sympathetic and understanding to the position of its tenants affected by the pandemic.
“It was not until August 2021 it instructed solicitors to seek payment of arrears back to March 2020.
“It has been able to reach agreement with some tenants and hopes to reach agreement with all tenants, in accordance with the government code of practice.”
A barber, Jafar Jahromi, 56, was summoned to court with demands for £35,000.
He told The Mirror: “You’d think the family of a minister would be the first to understand this. There is no compassion.
“They don’t care about Covid. They care about their money – even if it means dragging us to court.”
Urban Feast kebab shop owner Zaheer Ahmad, 47, and wife Jaan, 43, received a summons for £46,751.
He said: “It’s hard enough to survive as it. We haven’t got the money to pay – it’s as simple as that.”
Meanwhile Hush Hair owners James Green and Daniel Craig were sent a claim for £130,000 for three units at Guildhall Buildings.
Green, 42, said: “How are we meant to find this – down the back of the sofa? The PM goes on about building back better. But his own minister’s family are acting like debt collectors.”
Zahawi’s finances were previously investigated by the National Crime Agency, though the enquiry did not lead to any action.
The new Chancellor has courted controversy during his short tenure as Chancellor.
The member of parliament for Stratford-on-Avon took the job from Boris Johnson on Tuesday following the resignation of Rishi Sunak.
He told multiple media outlets on Wednesday that the Prime Minister has integrity, before calling for his resignation the day after.
In a publicly accessible letter he sent to the Prime Minister telling him to resign on Thursday, saying “he is now undermining the incredible achievements of this Government at this late hour”.
In the same letter he labelled former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn a “dangerous antisemite”, which has angered left wing groups, who have urged Corbyn to sue Zahawi.