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London: David Cameron has admitted he profited from his late father’s offshore investment fund, which was revealed in the Panama Papers as having avoided paying tax in the UK.
The prime minister sold his stake in the Blairmore fund for more than £30,000 just four months before entering Downing Street.
Speaking after almost a week of refusing to comment on the leak but issuing four statements, Cameron said he and his wife, Samantha, held 5,000 units in the Blairmore Investment Trust from 1997 to January 2010.
The stake was purchased for £12,497 and sold for £31,500, giving the Camerons a £19,003 profit, £300 below the capital gains tax allowance. The prime minister insisted they declared the annual dividends they received from the investment, and paid full income tax on any returns.
The revelation comes five days after the Tory leader’s father, Ian Cameron, was named in the unprecedented leak of more than 11 million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
The Panama Papers revealed how Ian Cameron ran an offshore fund that avoided ever having to pay tax in Britain by hiring a small army of Bahamas residents – including a part-time bishop – to sign its paperwork.
As a director of Blairmore Holdings Inc, an investment fund run from the Bahamas but named after the family’s ancestral home in Aberdeenshire, Ian Cameron oversaw tens of millions of pounds on behalf of wealthy families.
The company was founded in the 1980s and moved to Ireland in 2012, two years after David became prime minister. In its 30-year history, Blairmore has never paid a penny of tax in the UK on its profits.
In an interview with ITV’s political editor, Robert Peston, on Thursday evening, the prime minister defended his father’s involvement in the fund.
“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, I’m proud of my dad and what he did and the business he established and all the rest of it,” Cameron said.
“I can’t bear to see his name being dragged through the mud. I chose to take a different path from my father, grandfather and great-grandfather, who were all stockbrokers, and I’ve got nothing to hide in my arrangements and I’m very happy to answer questions about it.”
Cameron also rejected suggestions that the fund was created to shelter investors from tax. He said: “I think a lot of the criticisms are based on a fundamental misconception, which is that Blairmore Investment, a unit trust, was set up with the idea of avoiding tax. It wasn’t.
“It was set up after exchange controls went so that people who wanted to invest in dollar denominated shares and companies could do so.”