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Them & Us
Ed Miliband claimed a political victory after Lord Fink retracted his threat to sue the Labour leader who, in a parliamentary bun fight with Prime Minister David Cameron, had accused him of being a "dodgy donor" to the Tories.
Former Tory party treasurer Lord Fink, who gave £3 million to his party, is named on the HSBC tax avoiders list but claimed he had only set it up to 'pay for the groceries' during his stay in Switzerland. Later, Fink's admitted engaging in 'mild' or "vanilla, bland" tax avoidance, as "everyone" does
However, before Miliband gets too smug perhaps he should explain Lord Paul's £500,000 donation and £2 million loan to the Labour party? Once a Labour peer, Lord Paul is also a named client of HSBC's Swiss branch. Does he not qualify as a 'dodgy donor'?
By your friends...
HSBC banking giant is in the doghouse but there's another tax avoidance tale. It's about the cosy relationship between global accountancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the Tories. Oh yes, and Labour.
MPs on the Public Accounts Committee have accused PwC of promoting tax avoidance by multinational companies "on an industrial scale" while enjoying lucrative government contracts.
PwC provided the Tories with staff technical support and professional advice worth £290,000 before the 2010 general election. However, it seems that PwC has hedged its bets by providing researchers to the offices of shadow chancellor Ed Balls and shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna worth a total of £163,000.
Speaking of tax avoidance... Cameron's wife, Samantha, works as an 'advisor' to luxury stationers Smythson. This company is owned via a holding company in Luxemburg and linked to a trust fund in Guernsey, both tax havens.
It's all Balls
In the wake of the HMRC scandal Labour Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls says Labour will crack down on tax dodgers. However, the party's track record in office doesn't exactly inspire confidence.
The number of 'non-doms' (typically, super-rich residents who claim 'non-domiciled' status to avoid paying taxes) in the UK exploded under Labour's Tony Blair premiership. They rose from 67,600 to 137,000 between 1997 and 2007. Fellow minister Peter Mandelson said the government was "intensely relaxed about people becoming filthy rich", so long as they paid their taxes.
What we saw
The Chancellor's advice - how to avoid paying taxes!
Tory Chancellor George Osborne back in 2003 on BBC2's Daily Politics show advising viewers to use "clever financial products" to avoid paying inheritance tax and care costs!
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