Senior UK Conservatives under fire over tax, finances

LONDON (AP) — U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak opened an investigation Monday into allegations that the chairman of the governing Conservative Party settled a

multimillion-dollar unpaid tax bill while he was in charge of the country’s Treasury. It’s one of multiple stories about secret loans and unpaid taxes causing discomfort for

Sunak, who has faced scrutiny of his own personal wealth and family tax arrangements. Party chairman Nadhim Zahawi has acknowledged a dispute with tax authorities over

shares in YouGov, a polling company he co-founded. But he said that the error was “careless and not deliberate.” “So that I could focus on my life as a public servant, I

chose to settle the matter and pay what they said was due, which was the right thing to do,” he said in a statement. The BBC and other British media reported that the tax

bill, including a fine, came to almost 5 million pounds ($6.2 million). They say the bill was settled when Zahawi was Treasury chief between July and September, during the final

weeks of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s tenure. Sunak said Monday he had asked his standards advisor, Laurie Magnus, “to investigate the matter fully and establish all the

facts and provide advice to me on Nadhim Zahawi’s compliance with the ministerial code.” “Integrity and accountability is really important to me and clearly in this case

there are questions that need answering,” he said. Sunak took office as U.K. leader in October, promising “integrity, professionalism and accountability” after a tumultuous

few years that saw Johnson ousted by multiple scandals and his successor Liz Truss toppled after her policies rocked the U.K. economy.