Corbyn Demands Cameron Halt Tax Evasion in U.K. Territories

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The British Virgin Islands.

Source: Getty Images
  • Panama Papers show evasion on `industrial scale,' Corbyn says
  • Investigation must also cover Cameron's father's investments

U.K. opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn called on Prime Minister David Cameron to crack down on tax evasion and avoidance in British overseas territories following the release of documents detailing offshore accounts held by some of the world’s wealthiest people.

Reports Sunday based on 11.5 million leaked documents from a Panama law firm, Mossack Fonseca, suggested politicians and business figures had channeled billions through offshore accounts. In Britain, attention focused on an offshore investment fund of which Cameron’s late father, Ian, was a director. The Guardian newspaper reported Monday the fund had never paid U.K. tax on its profits.

“We’ve got revelations of tax avoidance on an industrial scale, of companies being set up in the British Virgin Islands and then moving themselves across to Panama, not paying any tax anywhere,” Corbyn told BBC Television Tuesday. “The more the revelations come out,” he said, “the more murky the whole thing becomes.”

Corbyn called on the U.K. authorities to carry out “an examination of those that have placed money there that appear to have done it to avoid tax and come after them to collect that tax back.” Questions about Cameron’s father’s investments must be part of a “fast, thorough, and fair” investigation, the opposition leader said.

Cameron’s office said Tuesday the prime minister does not own shares in any companies. The prime minister’s spokeswoman, Helen Bower, told reporters at a regular briefing in London Monday that the story about his father was old and declined further comment. She said Cameron had put action to clamp down on offshore tax avoidance “front and center” of the U.K.’s G-8 presidency in 2013. The government is due to host an anti-corruption summit in London in May.

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