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UK's Cameron: No family benefits from offshore

Published:Wednesday | April 6, 2016 | 4:00 AM
Prime Minister David Cameron

BERLIN (AP):

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he and his family do not benefit from offshore funds, after the leader of the opposition called for an independent investigation into everyone holding money in tax havens.

A leak of millions of documents from a Panamanian law firm has disclosed details of the asset-hiding arrangements of wealthy people, including Cameron's late father.

Ian Cameron, who died in 2010, used other offshore investments to help shield his money from UK tax. There is no suggestion that the arrangement was illegal.

Cameron's office said "the prime minister, his wife and their children do not benefit from any offshore funds".

Cameron said yesterday: "I own no shares, no offshore trusts, no offshore funds, nothing like that. And so that, I think, is a very clear description." Downing St said Cameron's wife Samantha "owns a small number of shares connected to her father's land, which she declares on her tax return".

President Barack Obama says the massive leak of documents on offshore accounts is evidence that world leaders should do more to crack down on individuals and corporations that try to dodge taxes.

Obama remarks were his first on the so-called Panama Papers. He said the leaders have made some progress in shutting down international tax avoidance schemes, but not enough.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said his country will put Panama back on its list of tax havens.

France had withdrawn Panama from its list of "uncooperative countries" in 2012 following the signature of a convention on the fight against tax evasion between the two countries.

Sapin, speaking to lawmakers at France's lower house of parliament, said Panama tried "to make us believe it was able to respect the key international principles".

France's list of tax havens currently includes six states: Brunei, Guatemala, Marshall islands, Nauru, Niue and Botswana. It allows tax administration to apply specific stringent measures on financial transactions with these countries.

The chairman of Hungary's opposition Socialist Party said a former lawmaker and party treasurer has admitted that reports about an offshore company owned by his wife are "completely true".

JÛzsef TÛbi·s said that L·szlÛ Boldvai, who was a parliamentary deputy from 1994 to 2014, told him yesterday that he is willing to face any inquiry and has suspended his party membership. Boldvai was also party treasurer for the Socialists in 1994-1998.

INVESTIGATIONS TO BEGIN

Romania's national tax authority has set up a working group to examine the data published by investigative journalists on offshore accounts and firms held by Romanians.

Spain's acting deputy prime minister said her country's investigation into offshore companies created for luminaries like soccer great Lionel Messi and movie director Pedro Almodovar will focus on whether the companies held money and if it was declared in Spain.

Soraya S·enz de Santamaria told the Telecinco broadcaster in an interview yesterday that Panama's government appears inclined to cooperate with Spanish authorities probing the companies in various tax havens created by Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

A digital forensics expert, who helped journalists parse the massive trove of offshore finance documents from a Panamanian law firm, said it took weeks to process the leaked information. Carl Barron, a consultant with Australian data investigation firm Nuix, said his company has been collaborating with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists since September on the so-called Panama Papers investigation.