Heat increases on British PM over ‘Panama Papers’

British prime minister David Cameron has admitted he and his wife owned shares in an offshore trust set up by his late father before selling them in 2010.

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Mr Cameron says he had owned shares in the Panamanian trust, Blairmore, but sold them in 2010 before becoming prime minister.

Mr Cameron’s father was among tens of thousands of people named in leaked documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.

The so-called Panama Papers showed how the world’s rich and powerful are able to conceal wealth and avoid taxes.

British prime minister David Cameron was dragged into the Panama Papers scandal after the leaked documents revealed details of a multi-million-dollar offshore firm his father set up.

Mr Cameron has told ITV he and his wife, Samantha Cameron, sold their stake in the Blairmore Holdings trust prior to him becoming prime minister.

“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 pounds.” (Reporter: “Was there a profit on it?”) “I paid income tax on the dividends, but there was a profit on it, but it was less than the capital-gains tax allowance, so I didn’t pay capital-gains tax, but it was subject to all the UK taxes in all the normal ways.”

Mr Cameron has confirmed he will publish the details of his tax returns.

Opposition deputy leader Tom Watson has told the BBC Mr Cameron’s behaviour shows he felt guilt over the trust account.

“Prime ministers have to lead by example, and, for him to have to admit after three days of questioning that this was the case, he must have felt a degree of shame. Otherwise, he would have admitted it immediately when he was asked three days ago.”

Meanwhile, Russian president Vladimir Putin says the Panama leaks are part of an orchestrated attempt to destabilise Russia by fabricating allegations of corruption.

Media reports based on the documents allege a friend of Mr Putin has quietly built a sprawling business empire involved in offshore transactions possibly linked to the Russian leader.

Mr Putin says his own name does not appear on the documents, and he suggests Russian’s enemies have “scraped up something” in the documents and “stuck it together.”

(Translated)”More than anything else, our opponents are concerned not over corruption but over the unity and consolidation of the Russian nation, of multinational Russian people. Because of that, attempts are made to destabilise the situation from within, to make us more agreeable and to shape us the way they want.”

In the wake of the mass document leak, greater scrutiny has been placed on countries that act as so-called tax havens.

Bermuda, which has no corporate tax, has long been a popular site for companies to keep profits.

It is home to the subsidiaries of just over a quarter of all Fortune 500 companies.

However, Bermuda’s deputy prime minister, Bob Richards, has told Sky News that Bermuda abides by the tax laws of other countries.

“Oh, we are categorically not a tax haven. We’re no more a tax haven than the city of London, or Wilmington, Delaware (in the United States). What we do, we accommodate clients, and we provide their home countries with the information that they need to collect taxes if they so desire or if it falls within the purview of their laws.”