Cameron admits stake in father's offshore fund

HADDON (Britain) • British Prime Minister David Cameron said he had held a £30,000 (S$57,000) stake in an offshore fund set up by his father, after days of pressure following publication of leaked files from a Panamanian law firm that have sparked a global outcry.

Mr 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 on Thursday.

Downing Street has issued four statements on the affair this week following Sunday's publication of the "Panama Papers", which showed how Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca had helped firms and wealthy individuals set up offshore companies, which can be used for legitimate reasons as well as tax evasion.

Mr Cameron's father Ian was among tens of thousands of people named in the documents. "We owned 5,000 units in Blairmore Investment Trust, which we sold in January 2010. That was worth something like £30,000," Mr Cameron told ITV. "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 Mr Cameron had no offshore funds, then saying he, his wife and children did not benefit from any offshore funds. It later added that Mr Cameron would not benefit from such funds in the future.

Mr Cameron 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.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2016, with the headline 'Cameron admits stake in father's offshore fund'. Print Edition | Subscribe