Panama leaks: David Cameron's father and senior Tories named, Downing Street refuses to comment
- More than 11 million documents show how the rich and powerful conceal their wealth
- David Cameron's father and senior Tories named in leak
- Cameron's father 'ran offshore fund that paid zero UK tax for 30 years'
- Downing Street refuses to comment on 'private matter'
David Cameron’s father, senior Tory peers and former Conservative MPs are among the hundreds of individuals named in the the so-called Panama Papers leak of confidential documents showing how the world’s richest people shield their wealth offshore.
Though he is not named in the reports himself, the British Prime Minister is linked to Panama Papers by his late father Ian Cameron, who died in 2010.
According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which coordinated the research into the 11 million secret files handed over by an anonymous source, Mr Cameron used Mossack Fonseca’s services to shield his investment fund, Blairmore Holdings Inc.
A 2006 prospectus for Blairmore Holdings Inc described Mr Cameron, a stockbroker and multi-millionaire, as “instrumental in [its] formation”.
It said the fund “should be managed and conducted so that it does not become resident in the United Kingdom for UK taxation purposes”.
The ICIJ said there was no suggestion that the individuals named in the Panama Papers had done anything illegal.
Asked whether the Prime Minister’s family was still holding money in offshore arrangements on Monday, his spokesperson replied: “That is a private matter, I am focused on what the Government is doing.”
She noted that the elder Mr Cameron’s investment funds were previously revealed in British media reports in 2012.
Critics reacted angrily to the response on Twitter, arguing that the Prime Minister’s position demands transparency on the issue.
“It is NOT a private matter for the flipping Prime Minister,” one person wrote.
Another accused Downing Street of showing “complete contempt” for the British public.
“So can we say ‘it's a private matter’ if HMRC came knocking on our door, wanting to do an audit?” a man wondered.
Three senior Tory figures were also named in the papers, including the former party donor and MP Lord Ashcroft.
“Belize Corporate Services (BCS), a subsidiary of Ashcroft's company BCB Holdings, began using Mossack Fonseca to provide shell corporations for its clients in 2006 when Ashcroft was in the House of Lords,” it was reported.
Lord Ashcroft’s spokesman Alan Kilkenny said allegations he had “partnered” or “done business” with Mossack Fonseca in any way were “entirely false”, and suggested records had been “falsified”.
The long-serving former MP Michael Mates, who was Northern Ireland minister under John Major in 1992/3, was also named as a client. The ICIJ said a company Mr Mates chaired, Haylandale Limited, was created in the Bahamas and registered with Mossack Fonseca.
And the Baroness and life peer Pamela Sharples was named as a shareholder and one-time director of Nunswell Investments Limited, a Bahamas-based company she used to make investments.
In response, the law firm which handled Sharples’ affairs, reportedly in conjunction with Mossack Fonseca, said she became a director of Nunswell in 2000 and that the company was registered in the UK at that point.
Mr Mates said he was asked to chair Haylandale Limited by a friend and that his shares were not of “any real value”.
David Cameron is due to host a major summit to discuss the issue of offshore tax havens in May. More than half of the 300,000 firms listed as Mossack Fonseca clients were registered in British-administered tax havens.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told the Mirror: “The Panama papers revelations are extremely serious. Cameron promised and has failed to end tax secrecy and crack down on ‘morally unacceptable’ offshore schemes, real action is now needed.”
Independent News Service