David Cameron has said he and his wife Samantha owned shares in an offshore trust set up by his late father, before selling them for £30,000 in 2010. The PM has faced questions over Blairmore Holdings, an offshore company set up by his late father, Ian.
He told ITV News he did not have “anything to hide” and had paid all UK taxes due on the profit she made from the sale of the shares.
Labour said the PM had been forced into the “extraordinary admission”. The BBC understands Mr Cameron will publish his tax returns, possibly next week.
There have been days of headlines about Blairmore Holdings, a fund for investors which, until 2006, used “bearer shares” to protect its clients’ privacy, following the leak of 11 million documents held by Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.
They show that Ian Cameron, who died in 2010, was one of five UK directors who flew to board meetings in the Bahamas or Switzerland. – BBC News
But has David Cameron just decided that giving a small amount of detail surrounding his tax evasions is less suspicious than denying any wrong doing what so ever?
SZ said it received the law firm’s documents a year ago from an anonymous source who “wanted neither financial compensation nor anything else in return.”
The German paper obtained further documents in an investigation that followed, involving “400 journalists from more than 100 media organizations in over 80 countries.”
SZ said it decided to analyze the data in cooperation with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Biggest leak in the history of data journalism just went live, and it’s about corruption. https://t.co/dYNjD6eIeZ pic.twitter.com/638aIu8oSU
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 3, 2016
The data in the so-called Panama Papers, “provides rare insights into a world that can only exist in the shadows. It proves how a global industry led by major banks, legal firms, and asset management companies secretly manages the estates of the world’s rich and famous: from politicians, FIFA officials, fraudsters and drug smugglers, to celebrities and professional athletes,” the German newspaper wrote.
Here are the famous politicians in ‘the Wikileaks of the mega-rich’ #PanamaPapers https://t.co/Ll2wyPj9KC pic.twitter.com/hRzKA0arBP
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 3, 2016
The information in the leak covers the activities of the Mossack Fonseca firm over a period from the 1970s to spring 2016.
“The Panama Papers include approximately 11.5 million documents – more than the combined total of the Wikileaks Cablegate, Offshore Leaks, Lux Leaks, and Swiss Leaks,” SZ said.
The data is presented in the form of e-mails, pdf files, photo files, and excerpts from the Panaman firm’s database.
That time when your journalism was so hot it melted the servers. #PanamaPapers https://t.co/AkCPAh6EEI
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 3, 2016
The leak claims to expose the offshore holdings of 12 current and former world leaders and provides data on the financial activities of 128 other politicians and public officials from different countries.
Here is a listing of current and former world leaders connected to the files.
Father of David Cameron
The father of Great Britain’s current Conservative Prime Minister died in 2010, having amassed a fortune in smart investments. According to the documents, “Cameron helped create and develop Blairmore Holdings Inc. in Panama in 1982 and was involved in the investment fund until his 2010 death.” Blairmore was valued at $20 million in 1998 and was promoted to investors in brochures as “not liable to taxation on its income or capital gains.” The promotional literature added that Cameron’s fund “will not be subject to United Kingdom corporation tax or income tax on its profits.”
President of Argentina
Macri — who as president has vowed to fight corruption — is listed, with his Italian tycoon father Francisco and brother Mariano, as a director of Fleg Trading Ltd., incorporated in the Bahamas in 1998 and dissolved in January 2009 — a financial connection Macri didn’t disclose on asset declarations when he was mayor of Buenos Aires. His spokesman said didn’t list Fleg Trading Ltd. as an asset because he had no capital participation in the company. The company, used to participate in interests in Brazil, was related to the family business group. “This is why Maricio Macri was occasionally its director,” he said, reiterating that Macri was not a shareholder.
Former Iraqi PM
A wealthy Iraqi exile who helped lead the push for war with Saddam Hussein, Allawi returned to Iraq to serve as prime minister in 2004. He also served as vice president s recently as last year. From 1985 to 2013, Mossack Fonseca helped run his Panama-registered company I.M.F. Holdings Inc. I.M.F. owned a house in Kingston upon Thames, England worth roughly $1.5 million, and another offshore company of his, Moonlight Estates Ltd., held a property in London. Representatives for Allawi confirmed that he “is the sole director and shareholder of Foxwood Estates Limited, Moonlight Estates Limited and IMF Holdings Inc.,” adding that he ran many of his house purchases through anonymous offshores “in light of an assassination attempt on him.” Indeed, he survived an attempt on his life in 1978, presumably by Saddam Hussein.
SIGMUNDUR DAVID GUNNLAUGSSON
PM of Iceland
A radio personality who led the Progressive Party to victory after the financial crisis of 2008, Gunnlaugsson and his wealthy wife owned a British Virgin Islands shell company called Wintris Inc., that held nearly $4 million in bonds in Iceland’s three major banks. He failed to declare his ownership of Wintris on entering the Parliament in 2009. In March, a TV interviewer asked Gunnlaugsson if he had ever owned an offshore company. “Myself? No,” he said, adding: “Well, the Icelandic companies I have worked with had connections with offshore companies.” A spokesman told the ICIJ that Gunnlaugsson and his family had followed all Icelandic laws.
KING SALMAN BIN ABDULAZIZ BIN ABDULRAHMAN AL SAUD
King of Saudi Arabia
Through a series of British Virgin Islands shell companies, the Saudi king appears to have taken out several luxury mortgages for houses in London — at least $34 million worth — and held “a luxury yacht the length of a football field.” The king did not answer the ICIJ’s requests for comment.
President of Ukraine
Known as Ukraine’s billionaire “chocoloate king,” Poroshenko swept into office in 2014 vowing reforms that have not yet come. He became the sole shareholder of Prime Asset Partners Limited in 2014, as Russian troops invaded Eastern Ukraine. The following year, Poroshenko vowed to sell most of his assets; news reports said they ultimately ended up in “Prime Asset Capital.” His spokesman told the ICIJ said that “creation of the trust and related corporate structures had no relation to political and military events in Ukraine,” adding that his assets held by an independently managed fund — Prime Asset Capital.
RAMI AND HAFEZ MAKHLOUF
Cousins of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad
“For years, any foreign company seeking to do business in Syria had to be cleared by Rami, who controlled key economic sectors such as oil and telecommunications. Hafez, a general in charge of Syria’s intelligence and security apparatus, has been suspected of helping his older brother intimidate business rivals.” The cousins have been subjected to international financial sanctions and appear to have used multiple offshore accounts to siphon wealth from Syrian industry and avoid freezes on their assets. In early 2011, emails show employees at Mossack Fonseca discussing U.S. sanctions and allegations of bribery and corruption made against members of the Makhlouf family. By that June, Mossack had cut its ties with the Makhloufs.
Son of ex-U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan
Then only son of former U.N. head Kofi Annan courted controversy in 1998, when a firm of his won a big contract under the U.N.’s Oil-for-Food humanitarian program in Iraq. An inquiry eventually cleared father and son of any corruption in the deal. Internal Mossack Fonseca documents show Koji Annan has held several offshore shell companies, using one to purchase a half-million-dollar apartment in central London. A spokesman for Annan said his business was for “normal, legal purposes of managing family and business matters and has been fully disclosed in accordance with applicable laws.”
FAMILY OF NAWAZ SHARIF
PM of Pakistan
For years, Sharif, a longtime presence in Pakistani politics, has had to answer questions about his family’s “riches from a network of businesses that include steel, sugar and paper mills and extensive international property holdings,” ICIJ says. Mossacks’ documents show a series of offshore companies operated by Sharif’s children, Mariam, Hussein and Hasan, including one to hold “a UK property each for use by the family” and others that moved million in assets. Mossack Fonseca resigned from a company Hasan directed in 2007, calling him “a politically exposed person.” The Sharif family did not respond to the ICIJ’s requests for comment.
ARKADY AND BORIS ROTENBERG
Lifelong friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin
The billionaire brothers grew up with Putin and have benefited richly from his turns as Russia’s president and prime minister. The U.S. has sanctioned their wealth over alleged corruption, particularly allegations they profited over contracts from the 2014 Sochi Olympics. They ran at least seven British Virgin Islands shell companies “involved in everything from investing in a major pipeline construction company… to buying equipment for the construction of an Italian villa in Tuscany for Arkady’s son.” [read more]
Close persona friend of Putin
Widely known as one of the world’s better cellists, Roldugin has been close to Putin since the 1970s, when the future president worked in the Soviet KGB. Documents show Roldugin owned three shell companies, two of which were funded by a Russian organ that the U.S. government calls “Russia’s ‘personal bank for senior officials.’” Through those companies, Roldugin appears to hold significant shares of Kamaz, Russia’s largest truckmaker, and a major state media corporation. [read more]