HMRC has been forced to go cap in hand to the press to get information on the Panama Papers scandal that has rocked the global political establishment.
More than 11 million documents have been leaked after Mossack Fonseca Asset Management was hacked, with newspapers running the story and going after major political figures. Those include the Prime Minister David Cameron, whose father has been implicated in the tax evasion scandal.
The company has issued bearer shares, which cannot be issued in the UK after a change in the law last year. A number of leading businessmen have been caught up in the scandal, including Iceland’s Prime Minister who has quit in the wake of the news breaking.
In the UK, heads will roll, but HMRC has had to admit that it is asking newspapers to hand over the information because it simply has not been able to get the leaked documents itself.
This is yet another blow for the British taxation office, which has come under fire of late for leniency with the likes of Google and Amazon. The British public is entitled to ask questions of a tax inspectorate that has not bared its teeth with the establishment or big corporations for quite some time.