Panama papers: British PM David Cameron under pressure over family wealth post major leak - Firstpost
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Panama papers: British PM David Cameron under pressure over family wealth post major leak

London: British Prime Minister David Cameron came under intense pressure on Tuesday over the Panama Papers leak that said his late father ran an offshore fund which avoided paying tax in Britain for 30 years, but kept mum if some of his family's money is still held offshore.

A major leak of tax documents — come to be known as the Panama Papers — have claimed that Cameron's late father Ian ran an offshore fund which avoided paying tax in Britain by hiring Bahamanian residents.

Ian Cameron's name is allegedly in the over 11 million leaked documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca that were passed to German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with 107 media organisations.

According to the Consortium, Ian Cameron used Mossack Fonseca's services to shield profits from his investment fund, Blairmore Holdings Inc, with a series of expensive and complicated arrangements.

Ian Cameron, who died in 2010, was a director of Blairmore, an investment fund run from the Bahamas but named after the family's ancestral home in Aberdeenshire.

The fund reportedly managed tens of millions of pounds for the wealthy.

The fund, which was established in the 1980s, continues today and "has never paid a penny of tax in the UK on its profits" in 30 years, according to The Guardian.

Blairmore Holdings was incorporated in Panama but based in the Bahamas, where the fund retained up to 50 Caribbean officers each year.

A file photo of David Cameron. PTI

A file photo of David Cameron. PTI

"Their job was to sign paperwork and fill roles such as treasurer and secretary. They included the late Solomon Humes, a lay bishop with the non-denominational Church of God of Prophecy. He acted in various roles including vice-president over a number of years from the mid-1990s," the newspaper said.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman declined to comment on whether any of Cameron's family money was still invested in the offshore fund, saying, "That is a private matter."

Meanwhile, UK Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on Cameron to take tougher action against tax havens, imposing "direct rule" on its overseas territories and dependencies if they do not comply with UK tax law.

"If the local government is simply going to condone this level of... tax avoidance and tax evasion of money that has been made in Britain... then that's (direct rule) something that has to be considered. There has to be an observance of UK tax law in those places," he told the BBC.

"If they've become a place for systemic evasion and short-changing of the public in this country then something has to be done about it. Either those governments comply or a next step has to be taken," he added.

The broad qualification for being a tax haven is to have a low or zero rate of income tax, which offers the rich to escape paying tax owed in their own countries.

It is estimated that UK tax authorities could be losing up to 7.2 billion pounds a year from avoidance and evasion with the use of these so-called tax havens.

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