The Panama Papers

Cameron releases tax details amid pressure

Protesters demonstrating against British Prime Minister David Cameron in central London after he admitted to having held shares in his father's Bahamas-based investment fund, a revelation from the Panama Papers.
Protesters demonstrating against British Prime Minister David Cameron in central London after he admitted to having held shares in his father's Bahamas-based investment fund, a revelation from the Panama Papers.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Document shows his salary as British PM; reveals he received £200k gift from his mum

LONDON • Mr David Cameron, in a step unprecedented for a British prime minister, published details of the taxes he has paid since 2009, days after the Panama Papers leak forced him to admit that he profited from an offshore fund set up by his father.

The four-page document, prepared by a firm of chartered accountants and published yesterday, shows Mr Cameron's salary as premier since 2010, income from a house he rents out in London and interest on his savings.

Over the six tax years through April 2015, he paid £402,283 (S$766,400) in tax on earnings of £1.08 million, according to the data.

It revealed that he had received a £200,000 gift from his mother, on top of the £300,000 inheritance from his late father.

It is likely to raise further questions about whether the gift from his mother came in part from offshore funds.

Scores of politicians and business figures have been implicated in the Panama Papers, including the prime minister of Iceland who has since stepped down.

The 11.5 million documents leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca detail how the world's wealthy stashed assets in more than 200,000 companies in offshore tax havens.

Hundreds of demonstrators rallied outside Mr Cameron's office last Saturday calling for his resignation, two days after he finally admitted to having held shares in his father's Bahamas-based investment fund Blairmore Holdings, which cropped up in the Panama Papers.

Protesters, many wearing Panama hats and some carrying signs reading "Eton's Mess", in reference to the exclusive school Mr Cameron attended, and "What goes in Panama does not stay in Panama", marched from Mr Cameron's central London office to Trafalgar Square, bringing traffic to a halt.

While Mr Cameron is not accused of doing anything illegal, he accepted blame for the way in which he was forced - in five separate statements over four days - to acknowledge his links to the fund.

"I know there are lessons to learn and I will learn them. Don't blame No. 10 Downing Street or nameless advisers. Blame me," he said, to applause from the ruling Conservative Party's Spring Forum.

The revelations appeared to have undermined his claims to be spearheading a global clampdown on offshore havens, a subject he has repeatedly returned to in meetings with governments and multilateral bodies around the world.

Seeking to further take back the initiative, Mr Cameron also announced yesterday a new taskforce, jointly led by Britain's tax authority and National Crime Agency, to build on the work Britain has done to tackle money laundering and tax evasion.

The taskforce will probe leads from the Panama Papers leak and report back to the government "later this year", the Treasury said.

Mr Cameron's admission of fault comes after a torrid period for his Conservative government.

It is divided over a June 23 referendum on whether to remain in the European Union, has been forced to backtrack on welfare cuts and has been accused of not protecting Britain's steel industry.

Meanwhile, a major anti-government rally in Iceland attracted thousands of protesters last Saturday, the sixth consecutive day of protests since the document leak.

The leak has claimed the scalp of prime minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson following revelations that he and his wife owned an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands and had placed millions of dollars of her inheritance there.

The leak is also causing problems for Argentine President Mauricio Macri, who said last week he will put his assets in a blind trust after a prosecutor said there were grounds to investigate him following revelations of his involvement in two companies listed in Panama.

More than 20 nations have announced probes and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development will host a meeting on Wednesday to discuss cross-border tax compliance issues stemming from the leaks.

BLOOMBERG, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

SEE OPINION

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2016, with the headline 'Cameron releases tax details amid pressure'. Print Edition | Subscribe