Pandora Papers: Margaret Hodge slams Tories’ ’empty promises’ on offshore havens

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Pandora Papers: Margaret Hodge slams Tories’ ’empty promises’ on offshore havens

Veteran MP who chairs a committee on corruption and tax said the leak of 12 million files reveal 'a monstrous culture among the world’s richest'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Dame Margaret Hodge.
Photo credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Dame Margaret Hodge. Photo credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Dame Margaret Hodge has launched an outspoken attack on the Tory government over their “empty promises” to take action against those using offshore companies to secretly buy property in the UK.

Responding to the publication of the Pandora Papers – a huge leak of 12 million files which shed light on the hidden world of offshore finance – the Labour MP for Barking and the Jewish Labour Movement’s parliamentary chair said the revelations reveal “a monstrous culture among the world’s richest. ”

The veteran MP, who is Jewish, added : “I’m sick of empty promises. I’m ashamed we allow this behaviour to flourish in Britain.”

Some 35 current and former leaders and more than 300 public officials are featured in the files from offshore companies.

They reveal the King of Jordan secretly amassed £70m of UK and US property.

They also show how ex-UK PM Tony Blair and his wife saved £312,000 in stamp duty when they bought a London office.

The couple bought an offshore firm that owned the building.

Dame Margaret, who chairs a parliamentary committee on anti-corruption and responsible tax, tweeted: “From the Crown Estate to Azerbaijan’s ruler, there’s no integrity, just pervasive greed.

“We’re the country of choice for kleptocrats & criminals. Boris: get on and stop this tsunami of wrongdoing.

“The UK lies at the heart of this scandal.

“Our offshore tax havens provide a route for dirty money.

“Secrecy about property ownership permits money laundering. British lawyers, bankers & advisers provide the cover. Our regulation is weak, our enforcement pathetic.

“The Government can act. Stop kicking the can down the road. Transparency, tough regulation, effective enforcement & holding the professionals to account. All oven-ready actions that are regularly promised and never delivered.

“The Tories promised a public register of property ownership in 2016; consulted in 2017; promised a bill in 2018; did so again in the 2019 Queens Speech & at the 2021 G7.

“We’re still waiting. I’m sick of empty promises. I’m ashamed we allow this behaviour to flourish in Britain.”

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