Sunak Vows Probe Into Pandora Papers Data Leak as He Denies Profit From Offshore Schemes
11:51 GMT 04.10.2021 (Updated: 15:24 GMT 28.05.2023)
On Sunday, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released the so-called Pandora Papers, the largest-ever trove of leaked data to expose alleged offshore activities by world leaders, businessmen, and celebrities.
British Chancellor Rishi Sunak has pledged that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will probe the Pandora Papers data leak
on the concealed fortunes of the world's super-rich.
"I've seen these things overnight as well and it's obviously tough for me to comment on them specifically given they've only just emerged, and of course HMRC will look through those to see if there's anything we can learn", Sunak told Sky News.
When asked if he himself had ever benefited from the offshore schemes described in the leak, he said: "No. I haven't".
A former banker, Sunak is reportedly sometimes referred to as the "Maharajah of the Yorkshire Dales" and he is thought to be one of the richest members of the British Parliament.
In a separate interview with the BBC, the chancellor stressed he did not think that London's reputation as a haven for tax avoiders was "a source of shame" because "actually" Britain's "track record on this is very strong".
"As you've seen from the papers, it's a global problem, there's a global dimension to it and we need other countries to cooperate with us to tackle this, but we're determined to do that", he added.
Sunak spoke after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on Sunday released the Pandora Papers, a huge trove of leaked documents
that exposed the financial arrangements of the global political elite, businessmen, and celebrities.
3 October 2021, 22:40 GMT
The exposé includes the leak of 11.9 million financial documents implicating more than 35 current and former world leaders, as well as over 330 politicians and officials from across the globe, in alleged financial wrongdoing via the use of offshore companies.
As far as the UK is concerned, the Pandora Papers reveal that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie purportedly saved some $434,000 (£321,000) in stamp duty when they purchased a London townhouse, after they bought an offshore company that owned it.