Calls for crackdown on offshore tax havens

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11.5 million documents named the ‘Panama Papers’ have been leaked from the Mossack Fonseca law firm naming hundreds of individuals involved in offshore banking, including senior Tory peers and former Conservative MP’s.

The leaked documents revealed that Ian Cameron, the Prime Minister’s late father was a client of Panamanian firm and used them to complete secretive offshore trade.

David Cameron’s financial affairs are being questioned following queries into his families’ tax arrangements, however Downing Street issued a statement saying that Mr Cameron’s immediate family do not benefit from any offshore trust funds.

Cameron said he had no income or shares from offshore trusts.

Labour want the PM to publish his tax returns, Jeremy Corbyn has said he will publish his and has called on David Cameron to do the same.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell told the mirror: “The Panama papers revelation are extremely serious.

Cameron promised and has failed to end tax secrecy and crack down on ‘morally unacceptable’ offshore schemes, really action is needed.” 

Of all the high profile figures affected by the publication of these papers, the Icelandic Prime Minister, Sigmundur Davio Gunnlaugsson appears to have been hit the hardest.

He has stepped down  following the public outrage that his family had sheltered money offshore.

Mr Gunnlaugsson once owned, and his wife still owns, an offshore investment company with multimillion pounds claims on Iceland’s failed banks.

The country suffered a financial crisis in 2008 when bankers and businessmen used offshore companies to conceal dealings in high-risk financial products. Several of them are now in Jail.

iceland

More than 10,000 people staged a mass protest outside parliament on Monday night.

Iceland has only recently recovered from the depression it was plunged into following the crisis.

Though no parliamentary discloser rules had been broken and Gunnlaugasson has done nothing illegal, his political opponents and the people of Iceland are outraged at what seems to be an attempt to hide offshore money.

Members of Gunnlaugasson’s own government called for him to resign.

His office said in a statement that he was not resigning but: “Handing over the office of Prime minister for an unspecific time.”

The ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) said there was no suggestion that the individuals named in the Panama Papers had done anything illegal.

Former Northern Ireland Minister MP Michael Mates was also named as a client. According to the ICIJ, a company Mates chaired, Haylandale Limited, was created in the Bahamas and registered with Mossack Fonseca.

The president of Transparency Chile has resigned after Panama Papers have found him linked to at least five offshore firms.

200 people in the US have also been exposed in the Panama Papers leak.

An international anti-corruption summit is to be held in London in May as apart of the governments transparency agenda, hosted by David Cameron.




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