Saturday, April 21, 2012

UK Cameron family: the tax haven connection

The Guardian is running a fascinating and important piece about the family fortunes of UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

"It was perhaps for sentimental reasons that the offshore fund Ian Cameron [David's father] helped to establish in the tax haven of Panama shares the name. Blairmore Holdings Inc, just like Blairmore House, is a monument to wealth obtained overseas. Valued today at £25m, the Panamanian fund was established in 1982 while David was still at Eton, the school that his father attended.

A 2006 prospectus for Blairmore holdings stated that

"The affairs of the fund should be managed and conducted so that it does not become resident in the United Kingdom for UK taxation purposes." . . .the firm has access to banking services in Panama as well as auditors and trading offices in the Bahamas."

And there is more:

Before his death in 2010, Ian Cameron was intimately involved in several such companies: Blairmore Holdings, located in Panama; Blairmore Asset Management, a short-lived fund located in Geneva; and Close International, a Jersey-based investment vehicle founded in 1979.

There is a slight glitch in the story:

Of the countries in which the businesses were based, only Jersey has acceded to the requirements of the OECD global transparency tax standard.

The glitch is that this transparency standard is, as readers of Treasure Islands will know, not too far off being worthless. The evidence on this is absolutely overwhelming. Currently, the OECD black/white/grey list of jurisdictions (based on adherence to this standard) is empty, and last time I looked, a couple of weeks ago, its grey list contained the financial giants of Niue, Nauru and Guatemala only. (I can't find the list any more; perhaps the OECD removed it, out of embarrassment.)

There is lots more to this Guardian story, but a clarification is in order, to be fair: David Cameron, who once called himself the "heir to Blair", was not the heir to Blairmore.

Leaving aside the question of money, though, another all-important question needs to be asked. What kind of economic world view did the British Prime Minister imbibe from his offshore-diving (late) father?


Blogger David Leloup said...

Here's the link to the OECD list:

7:35 am  

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