LONDON ( Associated Press) – U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak launched an investigation Monday into allegations that the chairman of the ruling Conservative Party settled a multimillion-dollar unpaid tax bill while leading the country’s Treasury.
It is one of many stories about secret loans and unpaid taxes that have plagued Sunak, who has faced scrutiny over his personal wealth and the family’s tax dealings.
Party chairman Nadeem Zahawi has acknowledged a dispute with tax authorities over shares in YouGov, a polling company he co-founded. But he said the mistake was “negligent and not intentional.”
He said in a statement, “In order to focus on my life as a public servant, I chose to settle the matter and pay what he owed me, which was the right thing to do.”
The BBC and other British media reported that the tax bill, including fines, was around £5 million ($6.2 million). They claim that Zahawi was Treasury chief between July and September during the last weeks of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s term, when the bill was settled.
Sunak said on Monday that he had asked his standards counsel, Laurie Magnus, “to thoroughly investigate the matter, examine all the facts and provide me with advice on compliance with the ministerial code by Nadim Zahavi.” “
“Integrity and accountability are really important to me and clearly there are questions in this case that need answers,” he said.
Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the opposition Labor Party, said the standard inquiry was a “pathetic attempt to pass the buck” by Sunak.
Reiner said, “Rishi Sunak’s vote of confidence in Nadim Zahavi is yet another example of his weak leadership and poor judgement.”