Nadhim Zahawi has stated he’s “clearly being smeared” after questions have been reportedly raised about his private funds earlier than his appointment as chancellor.
The former schooling secretary and vaccines minister, who’s vying to take over from Boris Johnson, instructed Sky News he had “always” paid his taxes and had “declared” them within the UK.
Should he turn out to be prime minister he’ll publish his accounts yearly, he pledged.
According to The Observer newspaper, a “flag” was raised by officers earlier than Mr Zahawi was made chancellor on Tuesday.
The 55-year-old changed Rishi Sunak, who had stop earlier that night and urged in his resignation letter that Mr Johnson’s authorities was not being performed “properly, competently and seriously”.
Civil servants within the Cabinet Office’s propriety and ethics workforce alerted the prime minister to an HM Revenue and Customs “flag” over Mr Zahawi earlier than his appointment, The Observer reported.
Mr Johnson went forward with the appointment “despite the possible concerns over his tax affairs”, it stated.
A supply instructed the newspaper such issues might “stop someone receiving an MBE or OBE” and that the “idea he could be chancellor or even prime minister is unbelievable”.
Another report, in The Independent, stated Mr Zahawi’s funds have been “secretly investigated” by the National Crime Agency.
The investigation didn’t result in any motion and there was no suggestion of wrongdoing.
Speaking to Sky News presenter Kay Burley, Mr Zahawi stated he had been unaware of the allegations.
“So I was clearly being smeared. I was being told that the Serious Fraud Office, that the National Crime Agency, that HMRC are looking into me,” he stated.
“I was not aware of this, I have always paid my taxes, I have declared my taxes in the UK.”
Referring to a doable investigation, Mr Zahawi added: “I will answer any questions that HMRC has of me.
“But I’ll go additional: I’m going to make a dedication immediately that if I’m prime minister I’m going to publish my accounts yearly.”
Mr Zahawi, who co-founded the polling company YouGov, is said to be worth more than £100m.
He is one of nine Conservative MPs who have declared that they are running for the party leadership so far.
Born in Iraq, he has said he “got here right here aged 11 with out a phrase of English”.
He added in his initial bid to become PM: “The Conservative Party has made me who I’m immediately.
“It gave me an education, it provided my family with a home and, most importantly, it provided hope.”
He is promising tax cuts and schooling reforms if profitable.
Watch Nadhim Zahawi’s full interview with Kay Burley at 7am on Monday