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    Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron

    Cameron on the Ropes Over Taxes as Public Trust in Financial System Falls

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    #PanamaPapers: Biggest Ever Offshore Leaks (94)

    UK Prime Minister David Cameron faced his first grilling in the House of Commons Wednesday since admitting benefitting from an offshore fund controlled by his late father, which avoided payment of corporation tax in Britain.

    Cameron was last week forced to admit that he had been a beneficiary of Blairmore Investment Trust — his late father's company — which ran investment funds in Panama and Geneva, as exposed by the Panama Papers leak.

    He was forced to admit: "I did own stocks and shares in the past — quite naturally because my father was a stockbroker. I sold them all in 2010, because if I was going to become prime minister I didn't want anyone to say you have other agendas, vested interests. Samantha and I have a joint account. We owned 5000 units in Blairmore Investment Trust, which we sold in January 2010. That was worth something like £30,000. I paid income tax on the dividends."

    However, he still faces criticism for failing to open up transparent tax reporting by multinational companies in Europe, while also protecting offshore tax havens, such as the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

    Independent journalist and commentator Steve Topple told Sputnik:

    "He has not broken any rules or law, but that is surely the point: people like the prime minister, in the position he's in, are allowed to do these kind of deals, it's perfectly legal. He doesn't have to be transparent about it either. It shouldn't be about public trust in Cameron. This needs to be focused on public trust in the system that allows this to happen in the first place."

    Tax Transparency

    Speaking at the regular Prime Minister's Question Time, Cameron faced a mauling from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who said:

    "The European Commission introduced new proposals on country-by-country tax reporting, so that companies must declare where they make their profits in the EU and in 'blacklisted' tax havens. Conservative MEPs voted against the country-by-country reporting and against the blacklisting. The Panama Pares exposed the scandalous situation where wealthy individuals seem to believe that corporation tax and other taxes are something optional."

    Cameron responded, saying:

    "We've already brought in over US$2.85 billion from offshore tax evasion since 2010. I think we should try and bring some consensus to this issue.

    For years in this country, Labour governments and conservative governments had an attitude to the Crown Dependencies and the Overseas Territories [such as the British Virgin Isles, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey] that their tax affairs were a matter for them and that their compliance affairs were a matter for them. This government has changed that.

    "We got the Overseas Territories, we got the Crown Dependencies round the table and said: 'you've got to have registers of ownership, you've to collaborate with the UK Government, you've got to make sure people don't hide their taxes and it's happening,' " he said.

    #PanamaPapers: Biggest Ever Offshore Leaks (94)


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