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UK PM under pressure over offshore fund

Press AssociationPress Association 8/04/2016

British Prime Minister David Cameron misled the public and "lost the trust of the British people" after admitting he benefited from an offshore fund set up by his late father, Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn says.

The Labour leader said on Friday the prime minister should make a statement to parliament and give a "full account of all his private financial dealings" as he claimed the revelations raised issues about his personal integrity.

Cameron sold his and his wife Samantha's shares in Blairmore Holdings - one of the tax haven schemes exposed in the Panama Papers leaks - in 2010 and insisted it was not set up as a tax dodge.

He paid income tax on dividends but the STG19,000 ($A35,519) profit on the sale was insufficient to attract capital gains tax.

In a strongly-worded statement, Corbyn demanded "decisive action" against tax dodging which the Panama Papers leak revealed was taking place on an "industrial scale".

Cameron has insisted it was a "fundamental misconception" that Bahamas-based Blairmore was set up by his father Ian to avoid paying UK tax and stressed that his interest in it had been "subject to all the UK taxes in the normal ways".

Pressure has been mounting on the prime minister for days after Downing Street initially claimed his financial affairs were a "private matter".

Corbyn said: "It is now clear that the prime minister has misled the public about his personal involvement in offshore tax avoidance schemes.

"It took five weasel-worded statements in five days for the prime minister to admit that he has personally profited from an undeclared Caribbean tax haven investment deal.

"After years of calling for tax transparency and attacking complex offshore tax arrangements as 'morally wrong', the prime minister has been shown to have personally benefited from exactly such a secretive offshore investment.

"His determination to conceal that arrangement over many years raises serious questions over public trust in his office and his willingness to be straight with the public."

Corbyn added that "the revelations of industrial scale tax dodging and corruption from Panama haven't just raised issues about the prime minister's personal integrity" but "also highlight his government's failure to take decisive action to crack down on tax avoidance and evasion".

Corbyn said Cameron had "lost the trust of the British people".

The prime minister could face a sleaze investigation over claims he should have declared his shares in Blairmore in the register of members' interests.

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