David Cameron has been urged to take “real action” against offshore tax havens after a huge data leak revealed details about UK clients of a Panama-based law firm.
Six members of the House of Lords, three former Conservative MPs and dozens of political party donors are reported to be among those named, along with world leaders, as having hidden offshore assets.
The PM’s late stockbroker father, Ian, is also reported to be identified in more than 11 million files leaked from the database of Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm.
There is no suggestion that any of those named in the so-called ‘Panama Papers’ have done anything illegal.
The PM’s spokeswoman declined to comment on whether Mr Cameron’s family still had money invested in offshore funds.
“That is a private matter, I am focused on what the Government is doing,” she said.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has requested the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) give it access to the leaked data and promised to “act on it swiftly and appropriately”.
The Prime Minister has previously promised to “sweep away” tax secrecy.
In 2011, he said: “We need to shine a spotlight on who owns what and where the money is really flowing.”
Next month he hosts an international summit in London that will focus on the conduct of tax havens.
Following the disclosure of the ‘Panama Papers’, a host of politicians have called on Mr Cameron to act.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “Cameron promised and has failed to end tax secrecy and crack down on ‘morally unacceptable’ offshore schemes; real action is now needed.”
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron wants an independent investigation. He argued UK Government had “failed to act until forced to by a scandal” over tax havens.
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said at the anti-corruption summit “pressure will rightly be on for him to abolish all of the UK’s tax havens”.
Meanwhile, HMRC tax enforcement chief Jennie Granger said: “HMRC can confirm that we have already received a great deal of information on offshore companies, including in Panama, from a wide range of sources, which is currently the subject of intensive investigation.
“We have asked the ICIJ to share the leaked data that they have obtained with us. We will closely examine this data and will act on it swiftly and appropriately.
“Our message is clear: there are no safe havens for tax evaders and no-one should be in any doubt that the days of hiding money offshore are gone. The dishonest minority, who can most afford it, must pay their legal share of tax, like the honest majority already does.”