Paradise papers are fake news and journalists should be in prison, slams Cayman ...

BBC NewsnightBBCAnthony Travers said he did not know what "tax haven" means

Appearing on Newsnight, Chairman Anthony Travers adopted an aggressive stance to dismiss claims that people have been unlawfully stashing money in offshore accounts to avoid paying tax.

He said: “I have no idea what tax haven means and nor do you. What we are talking about is offshore financial centres that have complete transparency, the highest global standards and, incidentally, higher than the United States of America.

"What have we actually had from the Panama papers in terms of actual convictions in the UK for anything at all involving tax evasion or tax avoidance?

“The answer is nothing, certainly nothing statistically relevant. The Panama papers are fake news and this new leak from Bermuda is fake news, saved to the extent that it is a criminal endeavour to hack people’s computers and these journalists should be in prison.”

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The so-called “paradise papers” have implicated a number of high-profile figures in investing money offshore.

They include The Queen, who reportedly held around £10million from her private fund in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda between 2004 and 2005, according to reports.

Also, Lord Ashcroft, a major Tory donor, has been accused of ignoring rules around offshore trusts.

The BBC claims the peer gave assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the Punta Gorda Trust in Bermuda in 2000, and sometimes made decisions about the investment without consulting trust officials.

Also implicated are F1 Champion Lewis Hamilton and three stars from the BBC series Mrs Brown’s Boys.

Appearing on Newsnight was the Premier of Bermuda and Minister of Finance, David Burt.

He defended the Island’s record of transparency and also high standards of practice.

He said: “Bermuda has a robust regulatory regime and due to the new global regulations, every single UK national who has accounts in Bermuda that information is transferred automatically to her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

Celebrities named in Panama Papers leakWed, May 11, 2016 Emma Watson, David Cameron & Heather Mills among some of the celebrities named in the leaked Panama Papers published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)

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“So, there can be many reasons why many people can be in Bermuda but it cannot be to avoid taxes as we make sure that we report everything to the UK authorities.”

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