David Cameron under investigation by HMRC over private jet use during failed lobbying job

Lord Cameron has been placed under investigation by tax inspectors over his use of private jets while working as a lobbyist for the collapsed firm Greensill.

By Christian Calgie, Senior Political Correspondent

David Cameron takes swipe at Boris Johnson

David Cameron has only been Foreign Secretary for a week and already he’s waded into his first political scandal.

HMRC has launched an investigation into whether David Cameron failed to fully disclose flights on private jets while working for the collapsed financial firm Greensill Capital.

Private jets may be just one of the other taxable perks tax officials are now looking into whether Lord Cameron fully disclosed.

This morning the Guardian reports HMRC is looking into a number of flights that took off, or landed, near Lord Cameron’s house in Oxfordshire and in Cornwall where the former PM has a holiday home.

They are also reportedly investigating an offshore trust that is believed to have been created by Greensill to pay him additional benefits.

David Cameron's return to frontline politics raises questions

David Cameron's return to frontline politics raises questions (Image: Parliament Live)

David Cameron had to declare all benefits in kind during his time at Greensill, where he worked for three years from 2018 to 2021.

In 2022 the Financial Conduct Authority said that a single flight to Sardinia on a Greensill private jet was worth £15,000.

The company’s Piaggio P180 has flightless showing at least 13 flights to and from Newquay airport in Cornwall, and two involving RAF Prize Norton in Oxfordshire.

Piaggio’s website boasts that the P180 Avanti EVO jet “blends the very best of Italian style, peerless craftsmanship, and intelligent thinking”, and boasts “superior performance and comfort”.

“The spacious cabin is truly an office in the sky, allowing passengers to maximise their working day while also arriving fresh, prepared and ready to do business.”

A spokesman for Lord Cameron told the Guardian that he has paid all his taxes in full.

The Piaggio p180 private jet Cameron flew on

The Piaggio p180 private jet Cameron flew on (Image: Piaggio)
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“As already made clear in David Cameron’s evidence to the Treasury select committee in May 2021, he did use Greensill’s company plane a number of times on a personal basis, all for short-haul flights, and tax was paid appropriately for any benefit received.

“Further, all income received from Greensill has been properly declared to HMRC and all tax paid in full.”

While David Cameron had to go through a number of propriety examinations ahead of his appointment to Cabinet and the Lords, there are concerns about whether the checks were rushed through at short notice in order to keep Lord Cameron’s return to frontline politics from leaking.

There are also major concerns about the new Foreign Secretary’s links to China from his time working as a lobbyist over the last few years.

While the Government set about freezing the UK’s relationship with China, given concerns about its spying activity, human rights abuses and actions in Hong Kong, Lord Cameron was busy helping secure billions in investment for a project run by a sanctions Chinese company.

Over the weekend the Sunday Times revealed Lord Cameron’s role in winning a $3billion investment, lobbying potential investors on behalf of a development in Sri Lanka, which critics fear could become a Chinese military base.

Lord Cameron was embroiled in a lobbying scandal with Greensill Capital during his time since No. 10, with a parliamentary inquiry into his role finding that he exercised “significant lack of judgement”.

The ex-premier sent dozens of text messages to officials and ministers, including the then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

David Cameron was paid over $1million a year for his role at Greensill, and it’s believed he made around $10million in total before the firm collapsed.

According to a BBC Panorama investigation, documents showed the former PM received the sum from cashing in shares he held in the company worth around £3.3million in 2019.

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