David Cameron's father ‘among offshore accounts leak’

Posted On: 
4th April 2016

Former Conservative MPs, peers and David Cameron's late father are reportedly among a list of senior figures whose financial dealings have been revealed in a massive leak of offshore tax regimes.

Eleven million documents have been leaked to media organisation across Europe
PA Images

Eleven million documents were leaked to media organisation across Europe from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm.

Among those reportedly named as clients of the firm are Ian Cameron, the Prime Minister's father who died in 2010, along with Baroness Sharples, former party donor Lord Ashcroft and former Tory MP Michael Mates.

A spokesman for Lord Ashcroft said any allegations against the peer were "entirely false", while Lord Mates said his holdings in a Caribbean property firm were not of "any value".

Journalists from more than 80 countries have been reviewing the cache of files which was anonymously leaked from the company's database.

The data suggests Mossack Fonseca has helped clients exploit secretive offshore tax regimes. It has links to 72 current or former heads of state.

The company insists it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years, has stringent due diligence procedures and has never been charged for any criminal wrong-doing.

Of those to be identified allegedly include six members of the House of Lords, three former Tory MPs and multiple donors to political parties.

Close associates of Vladimir Putin are also implicated, but the Russian president is not reportedly identified on any document.

One leaked memo from a partner of Mossack Fonseca reportedly said: "Ninety-five per cent of our work coincidentally consists in selling vehicles to avoid taxes."

Some 370 reporters from 100 media organisations have spent a year verifying the documents, with the most recent data coming in December 2015.

Mr Cameron has promised to "sweep away" tax secrecy.

In 2011, the Prime Minister said: "We need to shine a spotlight on who owns what and where the money is really flowing."

Oxfam's head of UK policy, Richard Pyle, said: "This leak highlights the key role that UK-linked tax havens like the British Virgin Islands play in allowing a privileged elite to dodge paying their fair share of tax.

"People in the world's poorest countries pay the highest price for the billions of lost tax money when their governments are unable to fund life-saving healthcare such as midwives and vaccinations for children.

"The UK is in a unique position to help clean up the murky world of tax havens - starting by ensuring that the real beneficiaries of shell companies registered in the UK's Crown dependencies and overseas territories, such as the British Virgin Islands, are revealed ahead of May's Anti-Corruption Summit in London."

In a statement, the company said: "For 40 years Mossack Fonseca has operated beyond reproach in our home country and in other jurisdictions where we have operations. Our firm has never been accused or charged in connection with criminal wrongdoing

"If we detect suspicious activity or misconduct, we are quick to report it to the authorities. Similarly, when authorities approach us with evidence of possible misconduct, we always cooperate fully with them."