UK to probe 22 people over Panama Papers tax evasion probe

Added 9th November 2016

Twenty-two wealthy individuals in the UK face civil and criminal investigations into suspected tax evasion following the disclosure of the Panama Papers, Britain’s chancellor Philip Hammond has told officials.

UK to probe 22 people over Panama Papers tax evasion probe

In a letter addressed to the House of Commons, Hammond also said a further 43 wealthy individuals were under review while their links to the offshore files, leaked in April, were investigated further, reports The Guardian.

The Panama Papers involved the leak of more than 11 million files from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca which revealed how the rich and powerful around the world use offshore shell companies registered in tax havens avoid paying tax.

Shortly after their release, the-then British prime minister David Cameron announced the creation of a cross-agency taskforce, involving the National Crime Agency, the Serious Fraud Office and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to analyse all the information available from the Panama leak.

Hammond told the house on Tuesday that the taskforce had “added greatly to the UK’s understanding of the ever-more complex and contrived structures that are being developed to mask offshore tax evasion and economic crime”. 

Nine potential “professional enablers” of economic crime have been identified by the taskforce, all of whom had links with known criminals.

In August, it was announced that tax advisers and accountants in the UK, who help clients avoid paying tax, could face fines of 100% of the tax avoided, according to new proposals being considered by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

A further 64 firms have been asked to determine their links with Mossack Fonseca, a move which is expected to result in more investigations.

HMRC investigations

Last week, a report by the UK’s National Audit Office said HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is investigating 6,500 high net worth individuals (HNWs) with a total case value of £1.9bn (€2.1bn, $2.3bn). 

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Monira Matin

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Monira joined International Adviser in March 2016 from Informa Global Markets where she worked as a eurobond reporter for over two years, covering fixed income markets. She has previously held a number of editorial positions covering politics, insurance and technology. Monira has a degree in Journalism and Economics from City University.

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