UK PM Admits Profiting From Offshore Holdings
After David Cameron’s father was named as a client of Mossack Fonseca in the Panama Papers, the British prime minister admitted on April 7 that he profited from offshore holdings.
In an interview with ITV news, Cameron said he and his wife, Samantha, sold shares totaling 31,500 pounds (currently $44,300) in an offshore company named Blairmore Holdings in January 2010, just five months before becoming prime minister. They had paid 12,497 pounds for the shares in 1997. The prime minister said the money was subject to British taxation in the “normal ways.”
His acknowledgement comes after 11.5 million documents from the Mossack Fonseca were released by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and other news organizations. The data breach named 12 world leaders and 140 other politicians in connection to offshore companies in 21 tax havens. The names included Vladimir Putin, Argentine president Mauricio Macri, and the Prime Minister of Iceland.
Cameron said he sold his shares before taking office because he did not want to be accused of having “vested interests.”
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) April 7, 2016
However, his father, Ian Cameron, put money into Blairmore Holdings, which did not pay British tax.
Although the actions may not be illegal, many have called for the prime minister to be transparent about his finances. Cameron had advocated before about financial transparency in his country and abroad. He is also scheduled to host an international anti-corruption summit in London next month.
Cameron had recently said after the release of the Panama Papers that he had “no shares, no offshore trusts, no offshore funds.”
— Sky News (@SkyNews) April 7, 2016
The prime minister had been avoiding questions about his finances since the data leak. When asked if the Cameron family still held an offshore fund, a spokeswoman told The Guardian, “That is a private matter. I will focus on what the government is doing.”
A few days later, Cameron said his father’s name was being “dragged through the mud.” He insisted that his father, who died in 2010, did not set up an offshore fund set up to avoid paying tax.
“I want to be as clear as I can about the past, about the present, about the future, because frankly, I don’t have anything to hide,” said the prime minister.
After his revelation, the hashtag #ResignCameron took over Twitter, with over 83,000 tweets by the next morning.
Someone who’s benefited from tax evasion should not be leading our country#resigncameron
— Rob Berry (@RobJamesBerry) April 8, 2016
She sells seashells on the seashore… No, that’s not it! It’s… He sells his shares on the offshore… That’s more like it. #resigncameron
— Johnny McVey (@mrjohnnymac18) April 8, 2016
When it comes to offshore tax avoidance all you had to do was ask the same question in 7 different ways to get the truth.#resigncameron
— David Cameron (@DavidChameron) April 8, 2016
How can a PM justify cuts and hit the normal tax paying people when his entire bringing up has been based on tax avoidance #resigncameron
— amer abbas (@hammeruk14) April 8, 2016
People also went on Twitter calling people to protest at 10 Downing Street on April 9.
David Cameron: close tax loopholes!https://t.co/LaQES37yeK
Protest this Saturday at midday outside 10 Downing Street
— Abi Wilkinson (@AbiWilks) April 7, 2016
I couldn’t agree more. Come out and protest on Saturday. Cameron should resign. https://t.co/B8GtCdFc7P
— Josie Long (@JosieLong) April 7, 2016
The Associated Press contributed to this report.