Top Tory figures and David Cameron’s late father allegedly used tax havens for the rich and powerful, according to a major document leak.
The British government sought on Monday to deflect any criticism of Prime Minister David Cameron over his late father's inclusion on a list of clients using a law firm in the tax haven of Panama and said it would investigate the leaked data.
Cameron's father, Ian, and members of his Conservative Party were among the tens of thousands of rich and famous people named in a leak of documents from Panama-based Mossack Fonseca which showed how clients had evaded tax and laundered money.
The documents, which emerged in an investigation published on Sunday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), are a blow to Cameron, a critic of tax evasion and tax avoidance.
In 2012, British media reported that Cameron's father ran a network of offshore investment funds to help build the family fortune. There is no suggestion he did anything illegal.
Asked on Monday whether she could confirm that no family money was still invested in those funds, Cameron's spokeswoman said: "That is a private matter."
Britain's HM Revenue and Customs said it had asked for a copy of the leaked data so it could examine the information.
Opposition Labour finance spokesman John McDonnell said the Panama Papers showed Cameron had failed to end tax secrecy and crack down on offshore schemes and called for "real action".
Meanwhile, three Tory peers are mentioned in the documents as having used tax havens. They are ex-minister Michael Mates, former party donor Lord Ashcroft and Pamela Sharples.