David Cameron has come under fire yet again after a 2013 letter emerged showing he shielded offshore trusts from an EU crackdown.
The British prime minister personally intervened to prevent offshore trusts from being dragged into an EU-wide crackdown on tax avoidance
The letter came to light as Cameron faces increasing pressure over his late father Ian Cameron’s offshore trust Blairmore Holdings, details of which were revealed in the Panama Papers leak.
In the 2013 letter to then-European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, Cameron argued that trusts should not be subject to the same transparency rules as companies.
The EU had planned to publish a centralized register of offshore trusts’ main owners as part of a broad crackdown on secretive financial practices.
Cameron’s letter, unearthed by the Financial Times on Thursday, said an important distinction must be drawn between different financial entities.
“It is clearly important we recognize the important differences between companies and trusts … This means that the solution for addressing the potential misuse of companies – such as central public registries – may well not be appropriate generally,” Cameron wrote.
The PM’s alleged links to the tax dodging practices of Blairmore Holdings are particularly damaging given he has strived to appear a champion of fair taxation domestically.
In September 2015 he called for more transparency and urged territories like the Cayman Islands to create a public register of financial interests.
He told the Jamaican parliament at the time he wanted to “break the business model of stealing money and hiding it in places where it can’t be seen – transparency is the answer.”
He claimed he had “taken the lead” in making sure “terrorists, tax-avoiders, money launderers and criminals have nowhere to hide their ill-gotten gains.”