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Fri, Sep

UK's Cameron publishes tax details as pressure grows

British Prime Minister David Cameron has released details of his income tax affairs for the past seven years in an attempt to defuse criticism of his investment in an offshore trust run by his late father.

Cameron became the first British leader to document his financial affairs hours after he told a meeting of activists from the Conservative Party, which he leads, that he was wrong to have been so slow to acknowledge his investment in Blairmore Holdings.

 

His father Ian, a millionaire stockbroker, organised the Bahamian investment fund with help from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which was the subject of a massive document leak last week.

The three-page summary of the prime minister's earnings and tax payments since 2009 showed on Sunday that Cameron made $15,297 (at the time) in profits from the 2010 sale of his stake in Blairmore shortly before he became prime minister.

His wife recorded an equal share of profit, allowing both to narrowly avoid paying capital tax on the shared gain.

The documents, put together by English accountancy firm RNS and published by Cameron's Downing Street office, show that Cameron paid £75,898  ($107,230) on taxable income of £200,307 (more than $280,000) in the most recent tax year.

His 2014-15 income included a prime minister's salary and expenses of £150,356, £46,899 from annual rental of the Cameron family home, and £3,052 in interest earned from savings on deposit in a London bank.

Cameron also announced plans on Sunday to create a so-called "task force" to scrutinise the involvement of UK consortiums and individuals in funds and companies registered by Mossack Fonseca.

In a statement, he said investigators led by taxation authorities and the National Crime Agency would "deal with any wrongdoing relating to the Panama Papers".

Earlier, Cameron issued a public mea culpa for his initial failure to confirm his investment in Blairmore. He had spent four days sidestepping questions about the issue before detailing his investment on Thursday in a television interview.

"I could have handled this better. I know there are lessons to learn, and I will learn them. And don't blame No 10 Downing Street or nameless advisers. Blame me," he told Saturday's event in central London.

Cameron was among scores of political leaders, celebrities and sports stars who have been linked to last week's leak of 11.5 million pages of client files at Mossack Fonseca, which specialises in registering offshore companies.

Cameron's financial records did not clarify whether he profited from other tax-avoidance vehicles overseas before 2010.

Dozens of police formed a human barrier at the entrance to the Conservative Party event as thousands of left-wing protesters demanded Cameron's resignation.

Many protesters waved placards portraying Cameron as an out-of-touch elitist, while others held signs mocking the Panama firm with the slogan "Mossack Fonseca: Because taxes are for poor people."

Opposition Labour Party MPs already have demanded that Cameron publish details of all his investment holdings since he became Conservative leader in 2005.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and other leading opposition figures said they would press the prime minister on the issue when Parliament reconvenes on Monday.

Corbyn said he would publish his own tax returns "very soon and there'll be no surprises there."

Credit : Al Jazeera