The Panama Papers scandal continues its embarrassing “witch hunt” with a type of vengeance that rivals even the Spanish inquisition. The first “domino” to fall was the Iceland prime minister. Now, many Britons are urging their prime minister to resign.
The Iceland and British connections to the Panama Papers draw some very interesting parallels. The first pattern that emerges is the “Denial King” attitude of both leaders, which several Inquisitr reporters have covered extensively. Both top honchos would deny their involvement in offshore tax havens, only to recant their statements later. To illustrate, one only needs to consider how many times the British prime minister has changed his testimony regarding the Panama Papers trail, again, based on extensive Inquisitr coverage.
Another parallel is that both government leaders are involved in cleaning up their respective governments from corrupt private sector practices. The Iceland prime minister was concerned with banking practices that severely affected the economy as well as public trust. David Cameron, on the other hand, has been of late directing the attention of the public to the evils of tax evasion.
The third pattern is the lack of transparency. In both instances, an alert public was able to spot the pony miles away. Iceland protesters rattled pots and pans and threw eggs at the Iceland government building. So far, this has not happened yet for the U.K. government. Instead, Britons are taking to Twitter under the #ResignDavidCameron hashtag.
USA Today underscores the extent that David Cameron profited from an offshore investment of his late father, Ian. “Cameron sold his stake in the fund for $42,000 four months before becoming prime minister, The Guardian reported. Cameron said he and his wife, Samantha, held 5,000 units in the Blairmore Investment Trust, created by his father, from 1997 to January 2010, the Telegraph reported. His office said Cameron, his wife and children do not benefit now from any offshore funds.”
Cameron first disclosed that he and his wife will not profit in the future from any of his father’s shares that the Panama Papers unleashed. He would later on recant by saying that he did profit from the same investment in the past. It is highly likely that the British public sees such revisionist stance as an evidence of lack of transparency, a key issue in the Iceland prime minister’s recent ouster.
Just today, the BBC reports that the U.K. Premier is losing trust from the public as a result of changing his positions on the Panama Papers subject. The source quotes Britain’s Labor Leader Jeremy Corbin saying that Cameron has misled the public and has lost the public trust.
“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.”
The British Conservatives, however, are quick to defend the prime minister, saying that his financial position has always been a matter of public record since he was elected. A specialist in tax planning and wealth structuring also defended the U.K. Premier, stating that there has been a huge public misunderstanding of Cameron’s past offshore investment. BBC quotes James Quarmby as saying that what Cameron owned in the past was a hedge fund that was “about as boring as it gets for investments,” adding that it would not be used for avoiding tax.
“It’s no different from Mr Cameron investing in a UK stock,” Quarmby was also quoted as saying.
The Panama Papers are considered as the biggest single leak in history, dwarfing any others such as the Snowden and the Vietnam War leaks. Over a year ago, a German newspaper was tipped by an unidentified source that it has torrents of data on the law firm Mossack Fonseca’s questionable practices with regard to handling offshore investments and tax evasion in particular.
The German newspaper has since then passed on the data to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). It has taken the ICIJ at least a year to pore through extensive documentation in order to thaw out key findings. As such, the leak of the century remains a work in progress. Anyone can access the Panama Papers by going to the video link below.
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