David Cameron is facing further questions over the Panama Papers tax dodging scandal after it emerged he raised concerns in 2013 about EU attempts to reveal the beneficiaries of offshore trusts.
The Prime Minister has been caught up in the furore after his late father, Ian Cameron, was named as a client of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
The company is accused of helping clients launder money, dodge sanctions and avoid tax, although Mossack Fonseca insists it has never been charged with any criminal wrongdoing.
The FT reports Cameron wrote to EU officials in 2013 saying there were “important differences” between trust and shell companies, arguing proposals to introduce public ownership registers for firms may not “be appropriate generally”.
The disclosure comes after days of intense scrutiny of whether the PM benefited in any way from his father’s offshore investment fund. Downing Street says neither Cameron nor his wife and children stand to gain from offshore trusts or funds.
A Government spokesman says: “At the time of the PM’s letter, the government was concerned that including trusts would distract from action against those areas of most concern, such as shell companies, and, in practice, these further changes weren’t achievable.
“In the subsequent negotiations, we were able to secure a sensible way forward which ensures that trusts which generate tax consequences have to report their ownership to HMRC.”