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Panama Papers: David Cameron admits having held stake in father's offshore trust

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged on Thursday he once had a stake in his late father's offshore trust, but sold the shares in 2010 before becoming prime minister.

Cameron sold shares 5 months before becoming PM to avoid accusations of having 'vested interests'

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron says his family bought shares in Blairmore Investment Trust for the equivalent of $23,000 in 1997, which they subsequently sold in 2010 for over $55,000. Tax was paid, he says. (Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

British Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged on Thursday he once had a stake in his late father's offshore trust, in an interview with ITV News.

Cameron said he had owned shares in the Panamanian trust, Blairmore, but had sold them in 2010, five months before becoming prime minister.

The Cameron family had paid £12,497, or about $23,000, for the shares in 1997. Cameron said the money was subject to British tax "in the normal ways."

"We owned 5,000 units in Blairmore Investment Trust, which we sold in January 2010. That was worth something like £30,000," he told the television channel (about $55,000).

"I paid income tax on the dividends. There was a profit on it, but it was less than the capital gains tax allowance so I didn't pay capital gains tax," he added.

David Cameron embraces his father, Ian, right. The British PM says his late father's name was being 'dragged through the mud' over the tax evasion allegations. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

Sky News on Twitter said Cameron plans to release his tax returns "in the coming weeks," citing a spokesman for the prime minister.

Cameron said he sold his shares because he did not want anyone to accuse him of having "vested interests."

His late father, Ian, was among tens of thousands of people named in leaked documents from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca which showed how the world's rich and powerful are able to conceal wealth and avoid taxes.

On Thursday, Cameron said his father's name was being "dragged through the mud," and insisted Ian Cameron's offshore fund had not been set up to avoid tax.

'I don't have anything to hide'

Cameron has been fending off questions about his finances for days. Earlier this week, the British leader's office said the family's financial affairs were a private matter.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for Cameron said: "There are no offshore funds or trusts which the prime minister, Mrs. Cameron or their children will benefit from in future." The 10 Downing Street representative did not specify whether they had done so in the past.

"I want to be as clear as I can about the past, about the present, about the future, because frankly, I don't have anything to hide," Cameron said.

In a statement on Tuesday, a spokesman for Cameron told Reuters that the prime minister, his wife, Samantha Cameron, left, and their children did not benefit from any offshore funds 'at present.' (Phil Noble/Reuters)

There is no suggestion the arrangement was illegal, but the revelation has brought calls for Cameron to come clean about his financial affairs. It has also given the prime minister's opponents a chance to depict him as a scion of wealth, out of touch with the financial worries of ordinary people.

Cameron has championed greater financial transparency in Britain and abroad, and is due to host an international anti-corruption summit in London next month.

But opposition politicians accuse him of failing to implement promises to reform British overseas territories that act as tax havens, including the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story included an incorrect conversion from British pounds to Canadian dollars for the amount Cameron's family paid for the shares in 1997.
    Apr 07, 2016 7:45 PM ET

With files from The Associated Press

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