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Panama Papers: UK’s PM David Cameron Accused of Hypocrisy in Offshore Trust Row

UK’s PM David Cameron of “hypocrisy” after he revealed he had owned shares in an offshore trust set up by his late father.

On April 7, David Cameron said he sold the shares before he enter Number 10 in 2010 and had paid all UK taxes due on profits from the £30,000 ($45,000) sale.

The prim minister said the company, Blairmore Holdings, had not been set up to avoid tax.

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson said David Cameron had called people who invested in similar schemes “morally wrong”.

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.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

The papers show that David Cameron’s father, Ian, was one of five UK directors who flew to board meetings in the Bahamas or Switzerland.

Downing Street and PM David Cameron had issued four statements on whether he had any financial involvement with Blairmore Holdings before the PM told ITV News on April 7 about the shares he had owned.

Tom Watson said David Cameron could not be blamed for his father’s actions but added: “He can for hypocrisy. He said that sunlight is the best disinfectant and wasn’t entirely straight with the British people about what his own financial arrangements were.

“That wouldn’t be so bad if he hadn’t also been lecturing very prominent people about their own tax arrangements, some he called morally wrong for being invested in similar schemes.

“People don’t like that and they want a lot more answers from David Cameron before this scandal goes away.”

Shadow Treasury minister Richard Burgon called on David Cameron to make a statement on his tax affairs to Parliament on April 11.

“He must now further clarify whether or not he or his family were benefiting directly or indirectly in 2013 when he was lobbying to prevent EU measures to better regulate trusts as a way to clamp down on tax avoidance,” he said.

In his interview on April 7, David Cameron told ITV News: “I don’t have anything to hide. I’m proud of my dad and what he did and the business he established… I can’t bear to see his name being dragged through the mud.”

David Cameron said much criticism was based on a “fundamental misconception” that Blairmore Investment was set up to avoid 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, and there are many other, thousands of other unit trusts set up in this way,” he said.

Downing Street said the Cameron family bought their holding in April 1997 for £12,497 and sold it in January 2010 for £31,500.

In 2010, the personal allowance before capital gains tax was paid was £10,100 per person.