British PM Cameron admits he benefited from father’s offshore fund

  • AFP, London
  • Updated: Apr 08, 2016 23:34 IST
David Cameron said he sold the stake in the Bahamas-based trust in 2010, four months before he became prime minister, in an interview with television channel ITV. (REUTERS File Photo)

British Prime Minister David Cameron admitted on Thursday he had held a £30,000 stake in an offshore fund set up by his father, after days of pressure following publication of the so-called Panama Papers.

Cameron sold the stake in the Bahamas-based trust in 2010, four months before he became prime minister, he said in an interview with television channel ITV.

Downing Street have issued four statements on the affair this week following Sunday’s publication of the leaked Panama Papers, which showed how Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca had helped firms and wealthy individuals set up offshore companies.

“We owned 5,000 units in Blairmore Investment Trust, which we sold in January 2010. That was worth something like £30,000 (37,000 euros, $42,000),” Cameron said.

“I sold them all in 2010, because if I was going to become prime minister I didn’t want anyone to say you have other agendas, vested interests.”

He insisted he had paid income tax on the dividends from the sale of the units, which he bought in 1997.

Downing Street first dismissed the story as a private matter on Monday before saying Cameron had no offshore funds, then saying he and his wife and children did not benefit from any offshore funds.

It later added that Cameron would not benefit from such funds in the future.

‘Difficult few days’

The Prime Minister has been under intense pressure from the main opposition Labour party and media this week to come clean on the extent of his links to the offshore trust.

The story could be damaging partly because it taps into a perception of the Conservatives as the party of the wealthy, and its leadership as products of affluent backgrounds educated at some of Britain’s most expensive schools.

“The PM has always been aware that if voters knew the scale of his wealth, they would consider him incapable of relating to their daily struggles,” wrote Isabel Oakeshott, author of a biography of Cameron, in the Daily Mail newspaper this week.

Cameron’s father Ian was a stockbroker who died in 2010, four months after his son became premier.

The Prime Minister revealed Wednesday he had been stung by criticism of his father -- who he has previously called his “hero” -- and stressed that the culture in the finance industry had changed in recent years.

“It has been a difficult few days, reading criticisms of my father and his business practices -- my dad, a man I love and admire and miss every day,” Cameron said.

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