A document leaked as part of the Panama Papers data dump revealed Prime Minister David Cameron’s late Father’s involvement with an offshore fund established in Panama for “taxation purposes.”
Ian Cameron was one of the Directors of Blairmore Holdings Inc, the investment fund in question, that was operated out of the Bahamas. Two years after Ian Cameron’s death in 2010, the fund was worth £25 million.
The papers which reveal internal data about Blairmore Holdings Inc are a part of a massive leak of documents from the internal database of law firm Mossack Fonseca. The leaks — a collaborative effort by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) — were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, and are comprised of over 11 million records dating back 40 years.
According to the ICIJ, six members of the House of Lords, three former Conservative MPs and lots of British political donors hold or have held assets offshore.
According to the leaks, Belize Corporate Services a company belonging to former Conservative Party Donor and Deputy Chairman of the Party Lord Ashcroft, used Mossack Fonseca to provide shell corporation for its clients. This allegedly took place in 2006 when Lord Ashcroft was a still member of the House of Lords. Lord Ashcroft’s spokesman Alan Kilkenny told the Independent that allegations Lord Ashcorft had “done business” with Mossack Fonseca in any way were “entirely false.”
Blairmore is the name of the house in Scotland where Ian Cameron was born, a Victorian mansion that was home to four generations of Cameron’s family. Ian Cameron, who made his fortune as a stockbroker, named the fund after his ancestral home.
Here’s a screenshot from a document that was made following the election of a new director to Blairmore Holdings in 2006. Ian Cameron is listed as a director of the company. Note that his residential address is listed a “care of” a street in the Bahamas.
Here’s the anonymous building in Switzerland where the above board meeting took place.
And here’s the street in the Bahamas which Ian Cameron gave as his usual residential address.
We already know a little bit about the operation of Blairmore Holdings from a shareholders’ prospectus issued in 2006. In the prospectus, the fund says that it is not resident in the UK for tax purposes. Here’s a screenshot:
There are still many unanswered questions about Ian Cameron’s offshore wealth. When he died in 2010, he left an estate of £2.7m, including £300,000 in cash to David Cameron — just under the inheritance tax threshold at that time. However if he did have assets outside of the UK they would been administered in the territories in which they were registered — we don’t know if there were any offshore assets and if there were, who they went to.
There is no evidence that Ian Cameron used Blairmore Holdings Inc to evade income tax. Four years ago David Cameron promised to tackled offshore companies, saying that some offshore schemes were “not fair and not right.” Cameron is going to host a major international summit in London next month to discuss offshore issues.