Estranged son nets £78m slice of Soho Estates pie
07 October 2011
Howard James, the son of Paul Raymond - dubbed the ‘King of Soho' for his £650 million property and pornography empire, received £78 million after a settlement was finally agreed with the rest of the family following interminable negotiations with Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs over the estate.
Paul Raymond died three years ago and his Soho Estates empire, which was built on the profits of pornography, controls swathes of prime London property.
Mr Raymond's masterstroke was to realise in the 1970s that Soho, in the heart of central London, was cheap. His empire today now consists of Soho and Notting Hill properties - including being the landlord for jazz club Ronnie Scott's. He owned around 60 acres between Shaftesbury Avenue and Oxford Street, but many are elsewhere in the West End, in Mayfair, Covent Garden and Leicester Square. Howard James, 51, received a sizeable part of the property portfolio, which he has put into his company, Raymond Estates. He runs the business with his cousin Mark Quinn. The company already boasts properties in Soho, Mayfair, Covent Garden and Leicester Square. He is said to want a London empire to rival his father's.
Mr James fell out with his father in his twenties when he started taking cocaine but the pair were later reconciled. There were rumours Howard was to get a small inheritance due to the time it took to carve up his father's estate, but that has now been proved false.
"All these years I've been reading that I got f*** all, so I take the view that if I keep quiet for another three years I'll probably have 40 per cent," he reportedly told the Evening Standard.
Soho Estates continues to hold properties for the long term without fancy funding. It is wholly debt free. In the 15 months to March 31 2011 it made a profit before tax of £21.9 million.
Howard James, who spectacularly fell out with his father when he starting taking cocaine in his twenties (before a later reconciliation), was present at his father's deathbed.