Cameron admits benefiting from late father’s offshore fund
PM and wife sold shares in Blairmore Holdings before Tory leader entered No 10
David Cameron: “I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m a very lucky person who had wealthy parents.” Photograph: Getty Images
David Cameron has admitted that he benefited from his late father’s offshore investment fund, which was identified in the Panama Papers, but said he sold his shares in the fund in 2010.
After four days of partial disclosures on the issue, the prime minister told ITV News on Thursday night that he and his wife Samantha owned shares in Blairmore Holdings, which they sold for more than £30,000 shortly before he became prime minister.
The fund, which was set up in 1982 by the late Ian Cameron, a stockbroker, never paid UK tax and was based in Panama until it was moved to Ireland in 2012. The prime minister said that he and his wife owned shares in the fund from 1997 until they sold them in 2010 at a profit of £19,000.
“I sold them all in 2010, because if I was going to become prime minister I didn’t want anyone to say you have other agendas, vested interests. Samantha and I had a joint account. We owned 5,000 units in Blairmore Investment Trust, which we sold in January 2010. That was worth something like £30,000,” said Mr Cameron.
In four separate statements earlier this week, Mr Cameron and Downing Street spokespersons stated that the prime minister and his wife were not currently benefiting from offshore funds and would not do so in future. It emerged this week that the prime minister lobbied in 2013 to prevent the EU from introducing greater transparency for offshore trusts and Labour’s shadow treasury minister Richard Burgon said on Thursday night that Mr Cameron has further questions to answer.
Paid no tax
“After four days of refusing to answer this question David Cameron has now finally been forced to admit he directly benefited from Blairmore, a company which paid no tax in 30 years. 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,” he said.
Mr Cameron said he had inherited £300,000 from his father, whose estate was based in Jersey, but he could not say if any of that money was drawn from offshore funds. He claimed that Blairmore Holdings had been mischaracterised in recent days as a vehicle for tax avoidance, when it was actually designed to facilitate people who wanted to invest in dollar-denominated shares and companies.
“In all of this I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m a very lucky person who had wealthy parents, who gave me a great upbringing, who paid for me to go to an amazing school. I have never tried to pretend to be anything I am not. But I was keen in 2010 to sell everything – shares, all the rest of it – so I can be very transparent. I don’t own any part of any company or any investment trust or anything else like that,” Mr Cameron said.