In a crucial news development that could possibly have global repercussions, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has finally admitted to have been profited from his late father’s offshore investment fund, which was revealed in the Panama Papers as having avoided paying tax in the UK. Cameron sold his stake in the Blairmore fund for more than £30,000 just four months before entering Downing Street. This admission comes after five days of a huge cache of documents were leaked –the Panama Papers – detailing the tax affairs of thousands of individuals worldwide. The Prime Minister’s father, Ian Cameron, who passed away in 2010, was exposed as running a fund under the name of Blairmore Holdings in the papers.
Speaking after almost a week of refusing to comment on the leak but issuing four statements, Cameron said he and his wife, Samantha, held 5,000 units in the Blairmore Investment Trust from 1997 to January 2010. Initially, Downing Street staffers said that it was a ‘private matter’ whether or not Mr Cameron had benefited from the fund, and later issued a series of statements denying the Prime Minister currently benefited from offshore funds, or stood to do so in the future. The Panama Papers revealed how Ian Cameron ran an offshore fund that avoided ever having to pay tax in Britain by hiring a small army of Bahamas residents – including a part-time bishop – to sign its paperwork. As a director of Blairmore Holdings Inc, an investment fund run from the Bahamas but named after the family’s ancestral home in Aberdeenshire, Ian Cameron oversaw tens of millions of pounds on behalf of wealthy families.
In an interview with ITV news, Cameron defended his father’s involvement in the fund. “I want to be as clear as I can about the past, about the present, about the future, because, frankly, I don’t have anything to hide, I’m proud of my dad and what he did and the business he established and all the rest of it,” he said. “I can’t bear to see his name being dragged through the mud. I chose to take a different path from my father, grandfather and great-grandfather, who were all stockbrokers, and I’ve got nothing to hide in my arrangements and I’m very happy to answer questions about it.” The prime Minister also rejected suggestions that the fund was created to shelter investors from tax. He said: “I think a lot of the criticisms are based on a fundamental misconception, which is that Blairmore Investment, a unit trust, was set up with the idea of avoiding tax. It wasn’t. It was set up after exchange controls went so that people who wanted to invest in dollar denominated shares and companies could do so.”