‘Dodgy Dave’s’ tax affairs to avoid parliamentary probe, says watchdog

British Prime Minister David Cameron © Dylan Martinez
Prime Minister David Cameron’s tax affairs will not be investigated by the parliamentary standards watchdog, after it emerged he had profited from an offshore trust. The commissioner refused to give a reason why.

The PM’s tax affairs have come under scrutiny since the Panama Papers leak revealed his late father Ian Cameron ran an offshore investment fund.

After initially refusing to comment on the disclosures, Cameron eventually admitted he benefited from shares in the offshore trust.
Between 1997 and 2010, he and his wife, Samantha Cameron, owned shares in Blairmore Investment Trust, a multimillion-pound offshore trust fund.

Cameron said he sold the shares months before taking office at 10 Downing Street in May 2010 and paid income tax on the dividends from the units. The family’s offshore firm was also moved to Ireland that year.

I paid income tax on the dividends. There was a profit on it but it was less than the capital gains tax allowance so I didn’t pay capital gains tax. But it was subject to all the UK taxes in all the normal way,” Cameron said, assuring “frankly” he doesn’t “have anything to hide.”

I want to be as clear as I can about the past, about the present, about the future,” he said.

The embattled PM has faced further scrutiny for receiving a gift of £200,000 (about US$288,000) from his mother, in addition to the £300,000 inheritance he received following the death of his father in 2010.

Mary Cameron made the tax-free payments to her son in May and July 2011. The PM is only liable to pay inheritance tax on this if his mother dies within seven years of handing over the money.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn challenged the PM in a special Commons session on the matter.

The PM has attacked tax dodging as immoral, but he clearly failed to give a clear account of his own involvement in offshore tax holdings until this week. Or to take essential action to clean up the system, while at the same time blocking wider efforts to do so,” he said.

Corbyn said British people are outraged by the Panama Papers revelations because they have been forced to endure six years of “crushing austerity, much of [which] could have been avoided if the super-rich had paid their taxes.”

A spokeswoman for the PM said Cameron would have been willing to cooperate if Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Hudson had chosen to investigate.

As the prime minister has said all along he’d provided information, he’d added more if she wanted to investigate it, clearly she has made a decision not to,” she said.