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David Cameron feeling the heat over £200,000 gift

The PM received the money from his mother.

Image: AP Photo/Frank Augstein

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER David Cameron has today released his tax details in a bid to head off a row over his father’s offshore business, and announced a new taskforce to scrutinise the so-called Panama Papers.

Hundreds of demonstrators rallied outside Cameron’s office yesterday calling for his resignation after he finally admitted to having held shares in his late father’s Bahamas-based investment fund, which cropped up in the documents leaked from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Cameron took the unprecedented step of publishing a summary of his tax returns over the past six years, and revealed that he had received a £200,000 (€240,000) gift from his mother, on top of the £300,000 inheritance from his father.

It is likely to raise further questions about whether the gift from his mother came in part from offshore funds.

The prime minister admitted yesterday it had “not been a great week”, and that he “should have handled” the situation better, having at first said it was a private matter.

“I know there are lessons to learn and I will learn them.

“Don’t blame Number 10 Downing Street or nameless advisers; blame me.”

The revelations appeared to have undermined Cameron’s claims to be spearheading a global clampdown on offshore havens.

Mossack Fonseca data leak Protesters outside Downing Street yesterday Source: John Stillwell/PA Wire

But the prime minister today insisted Britain was at the “forefront of international action to tackle aggressive tax avoidance and evasion” with the announcement of the £10 million taskforce, according to a statement from the Treasury.

The force will be led by the HMRC tax authority and the National Crime Agency, and will investigate the leaked files from Mossack Fonseca to identify clients suspected of money laundering and tax evasion.

Cameron admitted on Thursday that he and his wife had held a stake in his father’s Blairmore Holdings scheme. They bought the stake for £12,497 in 1997 and sold it for £31,500, four months before he became prime minister in 2010.

Protesters, many wearing Panama hats and some carrying signs reading “Eton’s Mess”, in reference to the exclusive school attended by Cameron, and “What goes in Panama does not stay in Panama”, marched from Cameron’s central London office to Trafalgar Square on Saturday, bringing traffic to a halt.

The revelations in the Panama Papers, resulting from what the law firm blamed on a computer hack launched from abroad, revealed how the world’s wealthy stashed assets in offshore companies.

Following the publication this morning, leader of the Labour party in the United Kingdom Jeremy Corbyn suggested that all politicians and public figures should publish their tax returns.

- © AFP, 2016

Read: ‘Blame me’ Cameron tells Tories as protesters call for him to go

Also: David Cameron admits he DID benefit from his father’s offshore accounts

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