UK Prime Minister David Cameron, his wife and their children do not stand to benefit in future from any offshore funds or trusts, Cameron’s spokesman said on Wednesday as the British leader continued to face questions over family tax affairs.
Cameron’s late father, Ian, was among the tens of thousands of people named in leaked documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca which showed how the world’s rich and powerful are able to stash their wealth and avoid taxes.
After having initially described it as a private matter, Cameron’s office issued a statement yesterday saying that he and his family did not benefit from any such funds at present. During a business visit in central England, Cameron also said he did not own any shares or have any offshore funds.
But his failure to say whether he or his family would benefit in future only intensified media speculation, with the story splashed across many newspaper front pages on Wednesday.
“There are no offshore funds or trusts which the Prime Minister, Mrs Cameron or their children will benefit from in future,” a spokesman for the British leader said.
Cameron has cast himself as a champion in the fight against tax evasion in British-linked territories such as the British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands, but the opposition Labour Party have said the “Panama Papers” show the government has failed to tackle the issue.
Labour lawmaker Wes Streeting, a member of parliament’s Treasury Select Committee, said the latest statement from Cameron’s office was welcome but there were still questions about whether he benefited from offshore funds in the past.
“From a public point of view, the question will be when our prime minister says he is serious about tackling it (tax evasion) … are we absolutely certain he doesn’t have a vested interest? And if he does have a vested interest, will he be up-front with us about it?” Mr Streeting asked.
Media reports indicated that Ian Cameron’s fund, Blairmore Holdings, moved its operations to Ireland in 2010, the year Cameron became prime minister. According to the reports, a source close to the fund said it had been moved because its directors believed it was about to ‘come under more scrutiny’.