David Cameron has lastly acknowledged he profited from a Panama-based offshore trust established up by his late father. After three days of delay and four limited statements issued by Downing Street he admitted that he maintained shares in the tax refuge fund, which he sold for £31,500 just before becoming prime minister in 2010.
In an exclusive organised interview with ITV News’ Robert Peston he confirmed a direct association to his father’s UK-tax evading fund, particulars of which were exposed in the Panama Papers leaks in the Guardian this week. Stating it had been “a difficult few days”, the prime minister said he held the shares along with with his wife, Samantha, from 1997 and during his time as leader of the opposition.
Cameron also self-confessed that he did not know whether the £300,000 he inherited from his father had profited from tax haven status due to part of his estate being established in a unit trust in Jersey. “I apparently can’t point to the source of every bit of money and dad’s not around for me to ask the questions now,”
Cameron said. It was the fifth clarification in four days from Cameron and his assistants about the profits he and his family had relished from the offshore fund. Downing Street originally asserted it was a private matter, but Cameron then said he had “no shares, no offshore trusts, and no offshore funds”.
His spokesman later explained: “The prime minister, his wife and their children do not profit from any offshore funds.” Downing Street then said there were no offshore funds or trusts the family would profit from in future, leaving questions about the past.
In his first interview on the subject after days of resistance, Cameron was probed on whether there was a clash of interest between his father setting up the Panama-based Blairmore Investment Trust, which did not have to pay UK tax on its incomes, and his stated policy to crack down on aggressive tax evasion.
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, laid off leaks about a network of offshore deals worth $2bn involving members of his close circle, as a scheme to undermine Russia. Replying for the first time he demanded the reports were “one more attempt to destabilise the internal situation [and] make us more accommodating”.
He said, St Petersburg: “Your humble servant was not there [named in the files], but they don’t talk about that. So what did they do? They make an information product – they found acquaintances and friends.”
The post originally appeared in The Guardian