'World class' UK taskforce to investigate Panama Papers claims

The National Crime Agency and HMRC will investigate the Panama Papers leak. Credit: Yui Mok / PA Wire/PA Images

A new 'world class' taskforce led by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the National Crime Agency will investigate allegations of tax-dodging and money laundering linked to the Panama Papers data leak, David Cameron has announced.

The unit, which is being set up with initial funding of up to £10 million, will also involve specialists from the Serious Fraud Office and Financial Conduct Authority as well as the two lead agencies.

The announcement came after Mr Cameron released his personal financial details and acknowledged failings in his handling of the row about his investment in his father's offshore business.

Officials are already investigating more than 700 current leads with a link to Panama, the Treasury said.

HMRC has requested the Panama Papers information held by the BBC, Guardian and International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, but has not yet been given access to the 11 million documents disclosed in the data leak.

The Panama Papers leak exposed the PM's offshore investment in his late father's company. Credit: John Stillwell / PA Wire/PA Images

Labour questioned the announcement and said any investigation should be "fully independent and public."

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: "The Prime Minister must be challenged on this unacceptable proposal. Any inquiry must be fully independent and in public.

"Having this proposed taskforce reporting to the Chancellor and Home Secretary, who are members of a political party whose donors are implicated, is a non-runner. The Government's inadequate plans will fail to win back the trust of the public."

Treasury Financial Secretary David Gauke said: "Everyone should pay their fair share of tax, just as the honest majority already does."