HSBC leaks: Tories received more than £5m from Swiss bank account holders

Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park, has denied that he holds an account

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Indy Politics

Conservative donors, peers and a Tory MP who held accounts with HSBC’s private bank in Switzerland between them donated more than £5m to the party, it was reported this afternoon.

According to the Guardian, they included Zac Goldsmith, the MP for Richmond Park, and his brother the financier Ben Goldsmith.

Also named in the HSBC files are Lord Fink, who served as a party treasurer under David Cameron and has given £3m to the party, and the former P&O boss Lord Sterling of Plaistow, who was ennobled by Margaret Thatcher.

There is nothing to suggest anyone named has not paid their tax in full.

Mr Goldsmith has, with his brother and their mother Lady Annabel, donated more than £500,000 in cash and in kind to the Conservatives.

Mr Goldsmith denied that he held an account but said that a family trust set up by his late father was well-known to be based in Switzerland, according to the Evening Standard.

“I do not have a Swiss bank account, and do not control any Swiss bank accounts,” he said. “I have never sought or been given tax minimisation advice by HSBC, directly or indirectly.”

Lord Fink has strongly denied tax avoidance and said he only had an account in Switzerland because he was posted there for four years. In a letter to Ed Miliband, following the Labour leader's claim in Prime Minister's Questions that he had taken part in "tax avoidance activities" in Switzerland, he reportedly said the allegation was "untrue and defamatory".

“I submitted tax returns in both Switzerland and Britain showing my revised tax status, which was accepted by the Inland Revenue," the Telegraph reported.

“I find it extraordinary that you have made claims against me that are without foundation or without contacting me."

Labour has also picked up cash and gifts in kind worth over £500,000 from individuals on the list, as well as a loan for £2m.

They include the steel magnate Swraj Paul and the clothing entrepreneur Richard Caring, who has donated to both Labour and the Conservatives.

Lord Paul said: “It is absolutely correct that I have an account with the HSBC.  There’s nothing wrong with that.” Asked for what purposes he had the account, he responded: “Certainly not for tax avoidance. HMRC knows I have that account.”

Mr Caring has said he paid all due taxes on time.

 

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