As coverage continues of the so-called Panama Papers – millions of internal files leaked from a Panama legal firm – several papers focus on how claims about the business dealings of his late father have “dragged” the British prime minister into the tax scandal.
David Cameron’s father Ian was a director of Blairmore Holdings, described by the Times as a “Bahamas-based investment fund” that is alleged to have “managed tens of millions of pounds on behalf of wealthy families” using “anonymous ‘bearer shares’ to shield its clients from public view”.
The claims suggest the company legally avoided paying UK tax by holding board meetings abroad and appointing what the Guardian calls a “small army of Bahamas residents – including a part-time bishop – to sign its paperwork”.
Downing Street “said it had responded to allegations about Ian Cameron in the past”, according to the Guardian, and a No 10 spokesman said the issue of whether the Cameron family still had an investment in the fund was a “private matter”.
Insisting this is the “question Cam must answer”, the Daily Mirror front page restates it in very direct terms: “So, do you STILL have family money stashed in a secret offshore tax haven, Prime Minister?”
Underneath, it adds “(and no, it isn’t a ‘private matter’)”.
That it’s certainly an embarrassing one is widely agreed. The Daily Telegraph suggests: “The timing could hardly be more awkward for Mr Cameron, who next month will host and chair an anti-corruption summit… to encourage more tax transparency”.
“The revelations are especially embarrassing because Mr Cameron has spearheaded efforts to make international finance more transparent,” says the Mail.
But the i’s economic editor, Ben Chu, says the Panama Papers expose what some would see as “the gulf between the Conservative Government’s hardline anti-tax avoidance rhetoric and a much more lax reality”.
The Guardian reports that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, in a speech on Tuesday, will argue that “the avoidance of tax by wealthy firms and individuals is starving public services of vital funding”.
Along similar lines, the Mirror’s leader column declares: “We’re not all in this together when fatcats use squalid tax havens.”
And, insisting the PM must “come clean” on the Cameron family finances, it asks: “What confidence can the tax-paying electorate have in our PM to stamp out tax havens exploited by the rich and wealthy if the stench of suspicion surrounds the occupant of No 10 because he stonewalls legitimate questions?”