Panama Papers: Under fire, Cameron says he does not benefit from offshore funds

In a statement on Tuesday, a spokesman for Cameron said: “To be clear, the prime minister, his wife and their children do not benefit from any offshore funds.” He did not say whether they had benefited in the past.

Written by Kylie MacLellan & Elizabeth Piper | London | Updated: April 8, 2016 1:06 am
David Cameron with his father Ian Cameron. AP/File David Cameron with his father Ian Cameron. AP/File

British Prime Minister David Cameron and his family do not benefit from any offshore funds, his spokesman said Tuesday, after he came under pressure over his late father’s inclusion in the “Panama Papers” revelations over tax havens.

During a visit to a business in central England on Tuesday, Cameron said he did not own any shares or have any offshore funds but did not answer a question on whether he or his family had benefited from offshore investment funds set up by his father. On Monday, his spokeswoman had said it was a “private matter”.

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In a statement on Tuesday, a spokesman for Cameron said: “To be clear, the prime minister, his wife and their children do not benefit from any offshore funds.” He did not say whether they had benefited in the past.

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“The prime minister owns no shares … Mrs Cameron owns a small number of shares connected to her father’s land, which she declares on her tax return.”

The leader of Britain’s main opposition party urged the government to tackle tax havens, accusing Cameron of allowing “the super rich elite” to dodge taxes.

Leaked Mossack Fonseca documents named Cameron’s late father Ian and members of his Conservative Party among the list of the firm’s clients.

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The government has promised to investigate the leaked data but opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for more to be done, including setting up an independent investigation. “There cannot be one set of tax rules for the wealthy elite and another for the rest of us,” Corbyn said. “The unfairness and abuse must stop … no more lip service, the richest must pay their way.”

When Britain hosted a G8 summit in 2013, Cameron put tackling tax avoidance at the heart of the agenda. Some of Britain’s former colonies increasingly rely on revenues from shell companies and trusts that often hide wealth.

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Three years later, some opposition lawmakers say the release of the “Panama Papers” shows the battle is far from won and are demanding that Cameron exert more control over Britain’s overseas territories, most of which are self-governing.

According to media that have seen Mossack Fonseca’s files, more than half of the 200,000 companies set up by the firm were registered in the British Virgin Islands, where details of ownership do not have to be filed with the authorities.

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