Tuesday 6 December 2016

Firm set up by David Cameron's father was moved from Panama to Ireland after he became PM

Gordon Rayner

Published 06/04/2016 | 02:30

Prime Minister David Cameron leaves after holding a Q&A session on the forthcoming European Union referendum with staff of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Birmingham, yesterday. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Prime Minister David Cameron leaves after holding a Q&A session on the forthcoming European Union referendum with staff of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Birmingham, yesterday. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson has resigned following the biggest popular protests in the country's history, which saw 10,000 demonstrators mass outside the country's parliament building to demand he qui5tt after he was accused of concealing millions of euros offshore. Photo: Brynjar Gunnarsson/PA

David Cameron was last night forced to defend his family's tax arrangements as it emerged his father's offshore trust was moved from Panama to Ireland in 2010.

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The British Prime Minister took the unusual step of insisting that neither he, nor his wife and children receive any benefit from an offshore company set up in Panama by his late father Ian, which paid no tax in Britain for 30 years.

'The Daily Telegraph' newspaper reported last night that Ian Cameron's firm Blairmore Holdings Inc was moved to Ireland in 2010 - the year Mr Cameron became Prime Minister.

A source close to Blairmore - which is still operating with assets of €44m - said the company had been moved because its directors believed it was about to "come under more scrutiny".

Details of Ian Cameron's offshore interests were contained in the so-called Panama Papers - a leak of 11.5 million documents from the law firm Mossack Fonseca - which claimed their first major scalp yesterday with the resignation of Iceland's prime minister.

Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson  stood down following the biggest popular protests in the country's history, which saw 10,000 demonstrators mass outside the country's parliament building to demand his head after he was accused of concealing millions of pounds offshore.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of France's far-Right Front National, and several aides of his daughter, Marine, the party's current leader, were yesterday also accused of hiding more than a million pounds offshore.

Mr Cameron was dragged into the scandal on Monday after details of his father's offshore interests were published.

The disclosures were potentially embarrassing for the Prime Minister because he has previously condemned tax reduction schemes.

Mr Cameron's initial response had been to insist that his tax affairs were a "private matter", but after 24 hours of confusion and criticism he caved in to pressure.

He said: "In terms of my own financial affairs, I own no shares.

"I have a salary as Prime Minister and I have some savings, which I get some interest from and I have a house, which we used to live in, which we now let out while we are living in Downing Street and that's all I have. I have no shares, no offshore trusts, no offshore funds, nothing like that. And, so that, I think, is a very clear description."

The carefully worded statement made no reference to whether he or close family members had benefited in the past or stand to benefit in the future from Blairmore.

Ian Cameron established Blairmore in Panama in 1981 and used a network of officers in the Caribbean to sign paperwork and fill nominal roles within the company.

The fund, named after Ian Cameron's former family home in Scotland, moved its operations to Dublin in 2010 and started paying Irish corporation tax.

A source close to Blairmore said: "It was very much the prevailing wind at the time that these things were starting to come under more scrutiny around the world. Tax laws were changing so it was moved."

Ian Cameron remained one of 10 directors until he died in September 2010. Investors claim the scheme was "100pc transparent" and had been registered with HM Revenue and Customs since its launch.

Ian Cameron left an estate worth €3.5m in his will, which was distributed among his four children.

UK residents would have to pay tax on any profits they repatriated, and there is no suggestion the Camerons did not. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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