Although he might have tried to brush it aside as merely a “private matter,” British Prime Minister, David Cameron’s involvement in the Panama Papers leak seems unlikely to go away quickly. Adding fuel to the fire is ostracised whistle blower, Edward Snowden, who has now started poking the PM over the matter, wondering aloud, why he’s suddenly interested in privacy.
The whole Panama Papers leak, which is linked with Cameron because his father benefited from offshore tax avoidance for decades, comes at a terrible time for the PM. He’s spent the last six months railing against personal privacy and encryption, demanding that people’s online activity be tracked, that encryption be banned and that filters be put in place to censor big swathes of the internet.
Oh, now he's interested in privacy. https://t.co/jfCSYgensb
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 4, 2016
Despite that, “It’s a private matter,” was the response given by Cameron when initially asked about his father’s use of offshore firms to avoid tax. He has since clarified that he doesn’t own any shares in any offshore companies or benefit from them in any way. It has however been confirmed that in 2010, when David Cameron became the UK’s Prime Minister, ownership of his father’s company, Blairmore Holdings Inc was moved to Ireland.
Some are now suggesting that this may have allowed Cameron to safely say that he did not benefit from offshore companies.
Resignation of Iceland's PM may explain why the UK PM is so insistent public has no right to know a PM's "private" finances. #PanamaPapers
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 5, 2016
While Snowden pokes fun of the PM though, his interest is backed by calls from officials and press in the UK, which are hounding Cameron and many top-tier Conservative politicians for more information. Chancellor George Osbourne left an interview with the BBC after being pressed over whether he benefited from offshore funds (as per the Telegraph).
The government is also being asked to take territories like the Virgin Islands in hand and add more regulation, especially considering the UK is set to host an international anti-corruption summit in just over a month’s time.
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KitGuru Says: Snowden’s comments really highlight the hypocrisy of this whole thing and show that either, the government doesn’t care about personal privacy unless it applies to politicians, or it doesn’t understand that the measures it wants implemented via the Investigatory Powers Bill would work. Either way, this isn’t good enough.