British Prime Minister David Cameron published his income tax returns for the past seven years on Sunday in hopes of defusing criticism over his investment in an offshore trust run by his late father.
Cameron became the first British leader to document his financial affairs hours after he told a meeting of Conservative Party activists that he was wrong to have been so slow to acknowledge his investment in Blairmore Holdings. His father Ian, a millionaire stockbroker, organized the Bahamian investment fund with help from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca. The three-page summary of the prime minister's earnings and tax payments since 2009 showed that Cameron made 9,501 pounds ($15,297 at the time) in profits from his 2010 sale of his stake in Blairmore shortly before he became prime minister. His wife recorded an equal share of profit, allowing both narrowly to avoid paying capital tax on the shared gain. The documents, produced by English accountancy firm RNS and published by Cameron's Downing Street office, show that Cameron paid 75,898 pounds on taxable income of 200,307 pounds (about $310,000) in the most recent tax year.
Earlier, Cameron issued a public mea culpa for his initial failure to confirm his investment in Blairmore. He had spent four days sidestepping questions about the issue before detailing his investment Thursday in a television interview. "I could have handled this better. I know there are lessons to learn, and I will learn them. And don't blame No. 10 Downing Street or nameless advisers. Blame me," he told Saturday's event in central London. Cameron has made the closure of global tax loopholes a focal point of his government, a position that fired cries of hypocrisy outside the Conservatives' meeting Saturday. Dozens of police formed a human barrier at the event entrance as thousands of left-wing protesters demanded Cameron's ouster. Many protesters waved placards portraying Cameron as an out-of-touch elitist, while others held signs mocking the Panama firm with the slogan "Mossack Fonseca: Because taxes are for poor people."