Nadhim Zahawi: Timeline of how tax affairs saw the Conservative Party chairman sacked

Questions have swirled around Nadhim Zahawi and his tax affairs in recent weeks but the row came to a head early Sunday morning as Rishi Sunak sacked the Conservative party chairman over a “serious breach” of the ministerial code.

The news comes months after The Independent first revealed details of an HMRC investigation into the former Chancellor.

The row centred on a tax bill over the sale of shares in YouGov, the polling firm Mr Zahawi founded. The shares, worth an estimated £27m, were held by Balshore Investments, a company registered offshore in Gibraltar and linked to Mr Zahawi’s family.

Here is how the controversy has played out:

– July 8 2022

Mr Zahawi, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, threatens to take legal action against The Independent after we asked him a series of questions and inform him we planned to report that HMRC officials were investigating his tax affairs.

– July 9 2022

The Independent reveals that HMRC was investigating Mr Zahawi and his tax affairs following inquiries made by the National Crime Agency and Serious Fraud Office. The chancellor denies knowing about any inquiries made about his tax affairs.

The Observer newspaper later reports that a “flag” was raised by Cabinet Office officials about the financial affairs of the Tory MP before he was promoted to the high-profile role of chancellor.

– July 11 2022

In an interview with Sky News, Mr Zahawi said that he was being “smeared”.

“I was clearly being smeared. I was told that the Serious Fraud Office, the National Crime Agency, HMRC, were looking into me. I’m not aware of this. I’ve always declared my taxes – I’ve paid my taxes in the UK,” he said.

– January 14 2023

The Sun on Sunday reports that Mr Zahawi had agreed to pay several million pounds in tax to settle a dispute with HMRC.

A spokesman for the Conservative Party Chairman says that his taxes are “properly declared” and that he “has never had to instruct any lawyers to deal with HMRC on his behalf”.

“As he has previously stated, Mr Zahawi’s taxes are properly declared and paid in the UK.”

– January 18 2023

Mr Sunak and Downing Street defend Mr Zahawi over the allegations. At PMQs, Mr Sunak said that the Tory chairman “has already addressed this matter in full and there’s nothing more that I can add”.

No 10 also says that Mr Sunak has full confidence in the MP, having taken him “at his word” over the matter.

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