Apr 9, 2016 9:53 PM
The Latest: UK leader reveals tax returns to ease criticism
The Associated Press
LONDON (AP) The Latest on developments relating to the massive leak of financial documents on offshore accounts from a Panamanian law firm. (all times local):
British Prime Minister David Cameron has published his income tax returns for the past seven years in hopes of defusing criticism over his past investment in an offshore trust organized by his late father.
Cameron is the first British leader to make public his financial affairs in this fashion. Sunday's disclosure shows that he made 9,501 pounds ($15,297 at the time) in profits from his 2010 sale of his stake in Blairmore Holdings, the Bahamian investment fund that his father Ian established with help from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca.
The three-page summary of the prime minister's earnings and tax payments since 2009 showed that he paid 75,898 pounds on taxable income of 200,307 pounds in the most recent tax year.
Cameron also unveiled plans to establish a so-called "task force" to investigate the involvement of U.K. companies and individuals in tax avoidance and evasion in offshore funds and companies registered by Mossack Fonseca. In a statement, he said investigators led by tax authorities and the National Crime Agency would "deal with any wrongdoing relating to the Panama Papers."
Thousands of Icelanders have rallied outside parliament in Reykjavik demanding the removal of the government following this week's resignation of Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson over his links to offshore investments.
The daily protests began Monday when opposition leaders introduced a no-confidence motion against Gunnlaugsson, who has since been replaced by the North Atlantic island nation's fisheries minister.
But the opposition is now pressing for a wider no-confidence motion against the entire government, saying two other ministers already have been linked to offshore investments at the center of the global scandal.
Saturday's protesters said Iceland could face an early election or a new coalition government led by the upstart Pirate Party.
"This government is finished," said protester Snorri Asmundsson, a 49-year-old artist who is one of many candidates seeking to become Iceland's president in a June vote. "I give it maybe one week."
In London, an estimated 2,000 protesters have rallied outside a Conservative Party event to demand the resignation of British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is under fire after belatedly admitting that he did invest in an offshore trust in the Bahamas run by his late father.
Protesters bore placards declaring "Cameron must go!" while one hefted a pinata of a pink pig with a picture of Cameron on its head. Some vowed to camp indefinitely in Whitehall, the government district that includes Cameron's Downing Street residence.
One protester, a 25-year-old teacher from the northwestern city of Manchester, said he wanted to see Cameron crack down on tax loopholes for the rich but doubted that he or any Conservative leader would.
Teacher Dominic Corfield says "I'm very angry with the way things are going."
The 15-nation Caribbean Community and Common Market is fighting the perception of the region as a tax haven following the leak of confidential documents from a Panama-based law firm specializing in offshore accounts.
CARICOM said financial industry regulations in the region fully comply with international standards overseen by institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Financial Action Task Force and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force.
The trade block urged caution Saturday against unjustly labeling the region's financial services industry as more disclosures from the Panama Papers are made public.
Portuguese newspaper Expresso says it has identified more than 240 citizens or foreign nationals with residence in Portugal involved in the creation of offshore accounts through the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
Expresso says Ilidio Pinho, a one-time top official linked to Banco Espirito Santo, and Manuel Vilarinho, a former president of the Benfica soccer club are mentioned in the leaked documents from the law firm it has had access to.
A one-time leading Portuguese bank, Banco Espirito Santo collapsed in 2014 causing an unprecedented financial scandal with reported losses of 9.2 billion euros ($10 billion).
Pinho was a non-executive officer of BES between 2000 and 2005, and Expresso says in 2006 he and eight other unnamed individuals opened offshore accounts via Panama-based company Stardec Investments SA.
Expresso quotes Pinho as saying he had nothing to do with the transactions.
Vilarinho was Benfica's president from 2000 to 2003. According to Expresso, he acknowledged that he held an offshore account in Soyland Limited Liability Company, based in Nevada, but insisted everything was done legally and with the full knowledge of Portuguese authorities.
Fallout from a massive leak of offshore finance data has led to a media boycott of the talks between French and Algerian ministers after authorities in the North African country denied visas to journalists from Le Monde.
Le Monde was one of many media organizations that broke news from the leak of offshore data from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. The flagship French daily notably explored the finances of several high-profile Algerians, including Industry Minister Abdeslam Bouchouareb.
Algeria has since refused visas for Le Monde and the French satirical news show "Le Petit Journal." Other French reporters have refused to cover the talks in solidarity.
In a Twitter message, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls expressed his "profound regrets" over the visa denials and promised to bring it up during his trip.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has admitted that he bungled his admission of his investment in an offshore fund revealed in the mammoth data breach of a Panama law firm.
Cameron drew laughs and applause Saturday from Conservative Party activists as he opened his speech with a mea culpa. "Well, it not been a great week," he deadpanned. "I could have handled this better. I know there are lessons to learn, and I will learn them."
It was Cameron's first public appearance since his admission Thursday night that he had owned shares in a Bahamas-based trust from 1997 to 2010. He had sidestepped persistent questions on the issue for four days.
Cameron faces mounting pressure from opposition lawmakers to reveal the full extent of his past investment in offshore investments, particularly those run by his late father, Ian, a millionaire stockbroker who placed much off his savings in trusts based in island tax havens. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and others say they will press Cameron on the issue when Parliament reconvenes Monday.
The British prime minister is one of scores of political leaders, celebrities and sports stars linked to shell companies and investment trusts organized by the Panama City-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.