Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative MP for Richmond Park, has dodged the questions that the voters of Richmond Park will be asking about why he has appeared on a list of people who may have benefited from an HSBC Swiss banking scheme to help the very wealthy avoid or evade tax.
Mr Goldsmith says he is "the beneficiary of a Trust... administered by a family Office in Geneva". Mr Goldsmith was registered as a non-dom during the time that the HSBC Suisse scheme was operational. He talks of 'inheriting' his non-dom tax status as if it were another piece of his family silver. He did not. He inherited the eligibility to choose to pay no UK tax, and the choice to register as a foreign national for tax purposes was entirely his.
Further, the public did not know he was a non-dom when he was selected by the Conservatives in Richmond Park to stand for Parliament in 2007. His statement that he does not hold a Swiss bank account is classic obfuscation, covering up the real questions Mr Goldsmith has not answered about this period:
1) Did you save UK tax as a result of being a non-dom?
If so, how much tax did you save each year?
2) For how many years were you registered as a non-dom?
3) When did you choose to relinquish your non-dom status?
The voters of Richmond Park deserve the full and open answers to these questions and there will be several opportunities at the forthcoming hustings debates for Mr Goldsmith to answer them.
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate, Richmond Park
11th February 2015