Nadhim Zahawi Dismisses Reports Over His Finances As 'Smears'

Conservative leadership hopeful also pledged to publish his accounts every year – if he becomes prime minister.
Nadhim Zahawi on Sky News
Nadhim Zahawi on Sky News
Sky News

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has claimed he is being “smeared” over the reports that his financial affairs were investigated before he was promoted.

Zahawi, who has put himself forward as a potential leader of the Conservative Party, is one of the richest MPs in Parliament.

He was appointed to one of the top jobs in cabinet last week, hours after the exodus of Tory MPs from Boris Johnson’s government began, having previously been education secretary.

But a “flag” was allegedly raised about his personal finances by HMRC before he became Chancellor, according to a report from The Observer. It also claims Johnson went ahead with the appointment “despite the possible concerns” over Zahawi’s tax affairs.

A different report from the Independent alleged that the Chancellor’s finances were “secretly investigated” by the National Crime Agency. This investigation did not lead to any action and there is no suggestion of wrongdoing.

Addressing the claims, Zahawi told Sky News: “So I was clearly being smeared. I was being told that the serious fraud office, that the national crime agency, that HRMC are looking into me.

“I’m not aware of this – I’ve always paid my taxes in the UK, I would answer any questions RMC has of me.

“But I will go further, Kay. I’m going to make a commitment today, that if I am prime minister, I will publish my accounts annually.

“That’s the right thing to do because we need to take this issue, in many ways, off the table.”

When pressed, Zahawi added that he would “look at the options” when it comes to publishing backdated accounts.

Presenter Kay Burley asked if this meant he would publish his tax returns from the last decade, only for him to reply: “I will publish them going forward.

″I don’t think being retrospective is right. I was in business before, I came out of that, of course I’m not in politics.”

Zahawi also released a statement last night declaring the allegations as “clearly smears”, and said the stories were “inaccurate, unfair”.

“I’ve always declared my financial interests and paid my taxes in the UK. If there are questions, of course, I will answer any questions HMRC has of me.”

He also alleged that, despite reports to the contrary, he (and his wife) do not benefit from an offshore trust, and that neither of them have a non-dom status.

“I’ve answered these supposed allegations because I think the right thing to do is to be transparent. I have corrected the record. I trust these smears will now be seen for exactly what they are.”

Zahawi – who called for Johnson to leave No.10 less than 48 hours after he was been promoted – is reportedly worth more than £100m, and co-founder of the polling company YouGov.


What's Hot