Panama Papers: Cameron admits profiting from offshore account

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Apr 09, 2016 12:57 IST
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (Reuters Photo)

He is not in the political zone that led to Iceland’s premier resigning, but Prime Minister David Cameron has admitted to benefiting from his father’s offshore fund in Panama after five days of vague responses, prompting charges of hypocrisy.

The media went to town on Friday on how Cameron and his office gave unclear responses to queries before he appeared in a specially arranged ITV television interview on Thursday and admitted he and his wife Samantha owned shares in the fund.

Cameron’s father, Ian Cameron, who died in 2010, was one of five directors of Blairmore Holdings. Cameron said he sold the shares before the 2010 general election to prevent allegations that he had “other agendas or vested interests”.

He said: “Samantha and I had a joint account and we owned 5,000 units in Blairmore investment trust which we sold in January 2010, that was worth something like £30,000.

“I paid income tax on the dividends, but there was a profit on it, but that was less than the capital gains tax allowance, so I didn’t pay capital gains tax, but it was subject to all the UK taxes in all the normal ways.”

Labour pointed out Cameron had been “lecturing” others on offshore funds but had now been dragged into finally admitting his role. Accusing him of hypocrisy, Labour MP John Mann said: “Cameron has been less than honest. He should resign immediately. Most decent people would expect nothing less.”

Cameron went on in the interview: “I don’t have anything to hide. I’m proud of my dad and what he did and the business he established...I can’t bear to see his name being dragged through the mud.”

He admitted it had been a “difficult few days, reading criticisms of my father and his business practices”.

According to him, criticism was based on a “fundamental misconception” that Blairmore Investment was set up to avoid tax: “It wasn’t. It was set up after exchange controls went, so that people who wanted to invest in dollar denominated shares and companies could do so, and there are many other, thousands of other unit trusts set up in this way.”

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