LONDON, One day after Icelandic Prime Minister David Gunnlaugsson resigned over fallout from the Panama Papers, British Prime Minister David Cameron faced questions Thursday about his profiting from an offshore account he admitted to having.
Cameron divulged the Panama-based trust on Thursday after three days of dodging questions on the matter. The fund, he said, was established by his late father, and was liquidated for nearly $45,000 in 2010 — netting a profit of $26,700 — before he became prime minster.
British leader confirmed the offshore trust during an interview with ITV.
“I was keen in 2010 to sell everything — shares, all the rest of it — so I can be very transparent,” he said in the interview. “I don’t own any part of any company or any investment trust or anything else like that.”
Cameron also said he doesn’t know for sure whether $420,000 he inherited from his father was part of a tax-free fund offshore.
“I obviously can’t point to the source of every bit of money and dad’s not around for me to ask the questions now,” he said.
While Cameron, who has taken a tough stance against tax evasion practices, is taking criticism from some in London, it is unlikely he will follow Gunnlaugsson’s lead and resign.
The Labour MP John Mann, a member of Britain’s Treasury committee, is among those who say Cameron should resign over what he called a misleading cover-up.
After the Panama Papers were revealed last weekend, Cameron first said he had no funds and no interests offshore. His spokesman later qualified those comments by saying Cameron hadn’t profited from any such account. Finally, Downing Street clarified that to say Cameron would not benefit from any offshore account in the future.
Those potentially conflicting statements led members of the British government and public to wonder whether the prime minister was hiding something — a suggestion Cameron emphatically dismissed during his interview Thursday.
“I want to be as clear as I can about the past, about the present, about the future, because frankly, I don’t have anything to hide,” he said.
Shadow Treasury minister Richard Burgon said Thursday that Cameron’s admission amounts to a “crisis of morals” at the heart of his Conservative government.
“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,” Burgon said, also expressing concern that the ordeal might “undermine public trust in the office of prime minister or the principle that those who govern us should pay their tax like the rest of us.”