David Cameron is under increasing pressure to reveal whether his family’s wealth is still held in tax havens after the leaked Panama Papers reportedly showed his father’s involvement in a Panama-based financial scheme that paid no UK tax over a period of 30 years.
Since Ian Cameron and his fund, Blairmore Holdings Inc, were named in the leaks from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, Downing Street has refused to comment on whether the Cameron family still has money stashed offshore, describing it as a “private matter”.
However, Jeremy Corbyn is due to renew his attack on Cameron’s lack of action over large-scale tax avoidance and evasion, where he is expected to argue that there cannot be “one set of rules for the wealthy elite and another for the rest of us”.
In a speech revealed to the press, Corbyn will say:
“Tax havens are sucking tax revenues out of our own country and many others, fuelling inequality and short-changing our public services and our people. This unfairness and abuse must stop. No more lip service. The richest must pay their way.
“The Government needs to stop pussyfooting around on tax dodging.”
Cameron has made repeated calls for a global clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion by wealthy elites, but his own father’s involvement in an offshore scheme, and the fact the half of the shell companies registered by Mossack Fonseca were incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), a British overseas territory, will prove doubly embarrassing.
The UK was second only to the former British Dependent Territory of Hong Kong in the list of jurisdictions where banks, law firms, and middle-men associated with Mossack Fonseca were located, and the leaks are reported to name six Conservative peers, three former MPs and several Tory donors. These revelations confirmed what many tax justice campaigners had complained about for decades – that the UK establishment is central to the shadowy world of global tax avoidance.
There is no information to suggest that the tax avoidance schemes employed by Ian Cameron and others named in the leaks were acting illegally and Mossack Fonseca strongly denies any involvement in or knowledge of tax evasion.