The grudging release of at least some of the information about David Cameron’s finances shows he moves in a world of great wealth.
He profited from an offshore fund, but he also grabbed far more.
After a week of prevarication the prime minister released a summary of his tax returns for the past six years.
Cameron was handed £200,000 by his mother because, it is claimed, she felt his £300,000 inheritance from his father was not large enough.
Mary Cameron is believed to have inherited shares in her husband’s Blairmore fund, which was based in Panama and then in Ireland, and money he left in Jersey, another tax haven.
Gifts from family members are not liable for inheritance tax seven years after they are made. This means if Cameron’s mother lives until 2018, the prime minister will pay no tax on the money.
Records show Cameron sold shares worth £72,000. No details were immediately available over what these shares were, or if they had any link to offshore investments.
As well as his money from his prime ministerial role (over £140,000 a year), Cameron and his wife Samantha made in excess of £430,000 over six years from renting out their west London home.
It took Cameron six days to admit profiting from his father’s offshore holdings. On Monday of last week, a spokesman said, “That is a private matter.”
On Tuesday morning, Cameron said, “I have no shares, no offshore trusts, no offshore funds.” That afternoon a spokesman said, “To be clear, the prime minister, his wife and their children do not benefit from any offshore funds.”
On Wednesday Downing Street said the Cameron, his wife Samantha, and their children would not benefit from any offshore income in future.
But on Thursday Cameron finally admitted the couple bought their holding from his father in April 1997 for £12,497 and sold it in January 2010 for £31,500.
On Saturday Cameron said, “I know that I should have handled this better, I could have handled this better. Don’t blame No 10 Downing Street or nameless advisers, blame me.”
The returns reveal that his lifestyle is enhanced by a series of financial perks only usually available to the super rich.
Ian Cameron managed funds in Panama, Switzerland and Jersey and was estimated by The Sunday Times to be worth £10 million. Yet, when he died in 2009 aged 77, he left only £2.74 million in his English will.
David Cameron intervened personally to prevent offshore trusts from inclusion in an EU-wide crackdown on tax avoidance. In a 2013 letter to the then president of the European council, the prime minister said that trusts should not automatically be subject to the same transparency requirements as companies.
Downing Street has failed to release details of the preceding five years, from the time he became leader of the Tory party, making it impossible to calculate the total amount of income the prime minister derived from his father’s offshore fund, Blairmore Holdings during the period he owned shares.
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