Politics

Nadhim Zahawi's tax row explained

Nadhim Zahawi releases statement in response to tax affair claims

Nadhim Zahawi is dominating the news again because of his ongoing tax row.

It is all a bit of a mess and difficult to follow so what happened?

It all started after sources reportedly speaking to the Sun on Sunday, said the former chancellor has agreed to pay several million pounds in tax to the authorities after a dispute over his use of an offshore company to hold shares in the polling firm YouGov.

The more than £20m shares were held through Balshore Investments, a Gibraltar-registered family trust, from which he has previously denied benefiting, and sold by 2018 to an unknown recipient.

Tax Policy Associates, a thinktank, has estimated that Balshore’s sale of YouGov shares should have incurred capital gains tax of about £3.7m.

After days of rumours, Zahawi confirmed he had made a payment to settle a dispute with HMRC but didn't say how much he coughed up.

Since then, the row has grown and prime minister Rishi Sunak has asked his independent ethics adviser to look into Zahawi's tax affairs, saying there were "questions that need answering" over the case.

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On a visit to a hospital in Northamptonshire, Sunak told reporters: "Integrity and accountability is really important to me and clearly in this case there are questions that need answering.

"That's why I've asked our independent adviser to get to the bottom of everything, to investigate the matter fully and establish all the facts and provide advice to me on Nadhim Zahawi's compliance with the ministerial code."

He added that Zahawi would remain Tory Party chairman during the investigation and had agreed to "fully cooperate".

Sadly, in the press release announcing the investigation they didn't even spell Zahawi's name right... who is Nadim?

Anyway, in a statement, Zahawi said he welcomed the investigation and looked forward to "explaining the facts of this issue" to Sir Laurie Magnus, the prime minister's independent adviser on minister's interests.

He added: "In order to ensure the independence of this process, you will understand that it would be inappropriate to discuss this issue any further, as I continue my duties as chairman of the Conservative and Unionist Party."

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