Cameron on Panama Papers: "I know I should have handled this better"

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Saturday admitted that he was at fault for his widely criticized response to the massive data leak known as the Panama Papers, which linked his late father to offshore funds registered in tax havens.

"I know I should have handled this better," Cameron said during a meeting of leading members of his Conservative Party.

"I know there are lessons to learn and I will learn them," he said, adding that critics should "blame me" rather than his advisers and media team.

Hundreds of left-wing protesters gathered on Saturday near Downing Street, the prime minister's official residence in central London, with many calling for him to resign.

Many of the protesters marched to the nearby Grand Connaught Rooms, where Cameron was attending the Conservative Party's Spring Forum.

Cameron promised to publish financial information from his recent tax returns and confirmed that he had invested in one of his late father's offshore funds.

Speaking about his father, Ian Cameron, he said he was "very proud of everything he did." 

"The facts are these: I bought shares in a unit trust - shares that are like any other sorts of shares, and I paid taxes on them in exactly the same way," he said.

"I sold those shares. In fact, I sold all the shares that I owned on becoming prime minister," Cameron said. The Conservative Party leader has been Britain's head of government since 2010.

"And later on I will be publishing the information that goes into my tax return, not just for this year but the years gone past, because I want to be completely open and transparent about these things," he said, adding that this would make him the first prime minister to do so.

On Friday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and other opposition leaders had urged Cameron to make a statement to parliament on his links to his father's offshore funds.

Corbyn accused Cameron of misleading the public and said he had "lost the trust of the British people" by making a series of brief statements this week instead of a full disclosure.

Cameron told broadcaster ITV late Thursday that he had invested in one of his father's offshore funds, Blairmore Investment, selling his holding for more than 30,000 pounds (42,000 dollars) in 2010.

He said he did not know whether the 300,000 pounds he inherited after his father's death in 2010 had come from offshore investments.

He initially said his father's use of the Mossack Fonseca law firm, which was the source of the massive Panama Papers leak, was "a private matter." His father, Ian Cameron, controlled the fund from 1982 until his death in 2010.

Cameron later made statements saying that he and his immediate family held no offshore assets and would not benefit from offshore holdings in the future.

Last update: Sat, 09/04/2016 - 16:22

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