Monday, April 4, 2016

British Prime Minister David Cameron's Family Embroiled in #PanamaPapers Scandal

At the Telegraph UK, "Cameron's family embroiled in tax avoidance row as details of his late father's business interests are leaked":
Downing Street has refused to deny that David Cameron’s family might have assets held offshore in Panama, reports Christopher Hope, chief political correspondent.

The Prime Minister was linked to the so-called “Panama Papers” by his late father Ian, who died in 2010.

David Cameron must take "real action" to crack down on offshore tax havens, opposition figures have demanded after it emerged his father was among the names released in a massive data leak which exposed the scale of efforts by the rich and powerful to hide assets.

The Prime Minister's late father Ian Cameron was reported to be among names - including those of six peers, three ex-Tory MPs and political party donors - named in relation to investments set up by Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Downing Street said it was a "private matter" whether the Cameron family still had funds in offshore investments and insisted the PM was in the vanguard of efforts to increase the transparency of tax arrangements.

More than 11 million documents were passed to German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) to 107 media organisations including the Guardian and BBC's Panorama.

HM Revenue and Customs has approached the ICIJ for access to the data and said it would "act on it swiftly and appropriately" if there was any wrongdoing.

While there is nothing illegal about using offshore companies, the disclosures have intensified calls for international reform of the way tax havens are able to operate and claims of large-scale money laundering.

Mr Cameron has been a vocal advocate of reform and legislation forcing British companies to disclose who owns and benefits from their activities which comes into force in June.

Despite several years of pressure however, few UK Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories - which are said to make up a large part of the tax havens referred to in the papers - have taken concrete action to open up the books.

He faces pressure to secure progress at an international summit on tackling corruption which he will chair in London in May and where the use of offshore tax havens to escape scrutiny will be high on the agenda.

Asked if Mr Cameron was prepared to legislate if there was continued inaction, the PM's official spokeswoman said: "He rules nothing out. The work with them continues."
More at the Guardian UK, "Fund run by David Cameron’s father avoided paying tax in Britain."