Date
28 March 2017
David Cameron says he sold all his shareholdings in 2010 when he became prime minister because he did not want any conflict of interest. Photo: The Independent
David Cameron says he sold all his shareholdings in 2010 when he became prime minister because he did not want any conflict of interest. Photo: The Independent

Cameron pushes back against lawmakers over father’s Panama link

British Prime Minister David Cameron is defending his tax affairs to parliament, saying he is angry at seeing his late father’s name linked to stories about offshore tax evasion.

Cameron has been parrying accusations of impropriety in his tax dealings after the leak of millions of documents from a Panamanian company registrar which detail thousands of secret offshore accounts.

After a week that saw him move from describing stories about tax as old news to releasing an unprecedented level of detail about his own affairs, Cameron said Monday he had sold all his shareholdings in 2010 when he became prime minister because he did not want “any conflict of interest”, Bloomberg reports

“I didn’t want anyone to be able to suggest that as prime minister I had any other agendas or vested interests,” Cameron said.

He said he had handled the disclosures badly because he was “angry about the way my father’s memory was being traduced”.

Cameron published details of the taxes he has paid since 2009 on Sunday after a week of negative headlines prompted by documents leaked from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca linking his father, Ian, to an offshore investment fund.

The prime minister said his father “was a hard-working man and a wonderful dad, and I’m proud of everything he did to build a business and provide for his family”.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne followed Cameron on Monday by publishing his most recent UK tax return.

Osborne earned 198,738 pounds (US$283,700) with 44,647 pounds of earnings coming from dividends derived from the family’s luxury home-decorating company, Osborne & Little, according to the document published on the Treasury’s website.

He paid 72,210 pounds in tax. The earnings compare with 200,307 pounds for the prime minister for the same period.

The UK reverberations were among the political fallout from the Panama leaks that have triggered the resignation of Iceland’s prime minister, a confidence vote in Malta later this week, street protests in Norway and a pledge by Argentine President Mauricio Macri to put his assets in a blind trust.

The European Union will announce proposals on Tuesday for how to require large companies to make public what they pay in tax in each of the 28 EU countries, and global finance ministers are expected to discuss evasion when they gather in Washington later this week for the International Monetary Fund’s spring meeting.

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said the reason “people are so angry” about tax evasion was that “we’ve gone through six years of crushing austerity” under Cameron’s premiership.

Corbyn also published his tax return for the 2014-15 tax year.

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