Britain’s prime minister admits he was a beneficiary of a Panama-based offshore trust set up by his late father, whose ownership of the organization was recently revealed as part of a massive leak.
The financial leaks, released on Sunday, show how high-profile law firm Mossack Fonseca in Panama, which specializes in establishing shell companies, has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions, and evade taxes. David Cameron’s father, Ian, who passed away in 2010, was exposed in the papers as running a fund under the name of Blairmore Investment Trust, which did not have to pay UK tax on its profits.
“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 in an interview with Britain’s ITV network on Thursday, adding, “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.”
Cameron is also facing questions about his attempt to exclude offshore trusts from a European Union crackdown on tax evasion. He wrote to EU officials in 2013, claiming trusts should not automatically be subject to the same transparency rules as companies.
The leaked financial records, dubbed the “Panama Papers,” were released by Süddeutsche Zeitung, a German newspaper working with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), and contain information on 215,000 offshore entities connected to individuals in more than 200 countries and territories.
The exposé has so far caused Iceland’s former prime minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, to step down after it was revealed that he and his wife had bought an offshore firm in the British Virgin Islands.
The Panamanian company has denied any wrongdoing, saying the firm has fallen victim to “an international campaign against privacy.”