Adhim Zahavi has admitted a settlement to HM Revenue and Customs after he made a “careless and not intentional” tax error relating to his father’s stake in YouGov.
The chairman of the troubled Tory party has been under pressure after it was reported he paid HMRC a seven-figure sum to settle a dispute Labor had called for him to be sacked.
The former chancellor issued a statement on Saturday “to clear up some confusion about my finances”, but opposition parties said important facts had been left out and called for an independent inquiry.
Mr. Zahavi said that when he founded the YouGov polling company in 2000, his father took the founding shares.
So that I could focus on my life as a public servant, I decided to settle the matter and do what they said was due, which was the right thing to do
He said: “Twenty-one years later, when I was being appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, questions were being raised about my tax affairs. I discussed this with the Cabinet Office at the time.
“Following discussions with HMRC, they agreed that my father was entitled to founder shares in YouGov, although they disagreed about the exact allocation. They concluded that this was a ‘negligent and not intentional’ error.
“So that I could concentrate on my life as a public servant, I decided to settle the matter and do what he said was due, which was the right thing to do.
Mr Zahavi said the matter had been resolved and “all my tax matters were up to date” when Prime Minister Rishi Sunak appointed him as party chairman.
Labor questioned whether Mr Zahavi had settled a tax dispute while in charge of HMRC during his brief stint as chancellor last year.
Nadim Zahavi still needs to explain when he found out about the investigation, and whether he was chancellor and in charge of our tax system at the time
Party chair Anneliese Dodds said: “In the midst of the biggest cost-of-living crisis in a generation, the public will rightly be appalled that anyone can claim that failing to pay millions of pounds in tax amounts to ‘negligence'”. It’s a simple matter.” ,
“Nadim Zahavi still needs to explain when he found out about the investigation, and whether he was chancellor at the time and in charge of our tax system.
“They need to explain why their legal representatives said their cases were updated in December last year, only to be fined £1 million this month.
“And he needs to explain why he was using threats and intimidation legal action last year to shut down legitimate questions from tax experts.
“Rishi Sunak needs to remove Nadim Zahavi as party chairman and set the record straight immediately – including what he knew about Zahavi’s investigation at the time.”
Daisy Cooper, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “Zahavi and his Conservative cabinet colleagues are arrogantly trying to brush this under the carpet.
There are facts that still need to be established so there should be an independent inquiry to get to the bottom of it
“There are facts that still need to be established so there should be an independent inquiry to get to the bottom of this.”
Labor had previously said the Tory chair’s position was “untenable” and sought an explanation after The Guardian reported that Mr Zahavi would have to pay back taxes with a 30% penalty, an estimated total of £4.8 million.
Mr Zahavi did not face any fines but denied allegations that he avoided tax by using an offshore company registered in Gibraltar to hold shares in YouGov.
He said: “HMRC agrees with my accountants that I have never set up an offshore structure including Balshore Investments, and I am not a beneficiary of Balshore Investments.”
YouGov’s 2009 annual report showed a holding of over 10% by Gibraltar-registered Balshore Investments.
The report described the company as “the family trust of Nadim Zahavi”, who was at the time an executive director of the polling firm.
Mr Sunak has defended Mr Zahavi, telling Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday that he “has already fully addressed this matter and there is nothing more I can add”.
The spotlight on Mr Zahawi’s tax affairs capped a challenging week for the prime minister, who was fined by police for not wearing a seatbelt in the back of a moving car.
(tagsto be translated) Nadim Zahawi