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HMRC asks media to provide them with Panama Papers data

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has asked the media to provide the Treasury with the so-called Panama Papers in order to investigate the data for its own tax investigations.

The leaked data from Panama-based lawyers, Mossack Fonseca, is said to contain 11.5 million files; the contents of which have been reported on by publications and news outlets from across the globe.

David Gauke, financial secretary to the Treasury, said in the Daily Telegraph that the tax authority sought access to the Mossack Fonseca data to assist with its crackdown against offshore tax evasion.

“HMRC is currently investigating thousands of leads relating to offshore companies, including 700 with a link to Panama,” said Gauke.

“Over the next five years, we’ve committed to giving HMRC a further £800 million to tackle evasion and non-compliance.

“HMRC has asked the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the BBC and The Guardian to share the data they have received from last week’s leaks so that it can be cross-checked against what is already being probed.”

After the so-called leak, Prime Minister, David Cameron came under the spotlight regarding his own tax affairs. The leaked files revealed Mr Cameron held shares in a fund set up by his late father.

Following pressure from MPs and the British media, Cameron published details of his personal tax affairs during the last six years. Subsequently, a government minister has called for all MPs to disclose details of their tax affairs to ensure transparency and integrity.

Penny Mordaunt, defence minister, told BBC One’s Sunday Politics programme that if the public want to know more about politicians’ financial affairs then they should have the right to obtain it.

“I think although I understand arguments around privacy and security, if that is what the electorate require of their elected officials, I think that’s what will have to happen,” said Mordaunt.

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