The parliamentary authorities reacted to damaging revelations of cabinet and junior ministers cynically exploiting Commons expenses rules by calling in the police to investigate how the details were leaked and by whom.No such qualms a scant year ago when it was private financial information being bought and traded, pork-belly style:
The involvement of the police, and the prospect of a full-scale criminal inquiry, came as fresh disclosures emerged of expenses claims made by middle-ranking ministers for items as trivial as a razor and a kettle.
One MP implicated in the latest allegations told the Guardian that he believed a mole was still active operating inside parliament and feeding material to the Daily Telegraph. Others said the paper was guilty of trading in stolen property, and could be subject of a swingeing court fine running into millions.
Britain's top taxman warned wealthy tax evaders yesterday that they were running out of places to hide their money after the authorities obtained details of secret accounts held in Liechtenstein.As the petards are hoisting today, those who have nothing to hide sure seem to be living in a bit of fear:
Revenue & Customs said it was targeting up to 30,000 individuals, who together owe more than £100m in back taxes, as its pursuit of wealthy foreigners registered as non-domiciles in the UK gathers momentum. These include a substantial number of Russians, the Guardian has learned, who may now be trying to shift their accounts to other tax havens.
"It should now be clear to everyone that there is no safe hiding place for the proceeds of tax evasion," Dave Hartnett, acting chairman of Revenue & Customs (HMRC), said a day after his agency admitted paying up to £100,000 to an informant for secret details of the bank accounts in the Alpine principality.
The fees office set up a weekend hotline to advise panic-stricken MPs who are worried about how their claims covering the five years back to 2004 will look to their constituents.As always, the hypocrite brigade remains silent on the issue, still.