Business leaders have a “duty” to their shareholders to pay as a little tax as possible, claims Boris Johnson.

former London Mayor Boris Johnson today defended the boss of Boots for moving the high street store’s HQ to Switzerland to reduce its UK tax bill.

Mr Johnson said Boots chairman Stefano Pessina had a “duty” to the company’s shareholders to find ways of paying the lowest amount of tax possible.

Yesterday, Labour leader Ed Miliband attacked the Monaco-based Boots boss for claiming he would be a “catastrophe” as Prime Minister, saying Mr Pessina “should be paying his taxes”.

Mr Johnson told LBC radio this morning: “[Mr Pessina] is doing his best by the lights of his shareholders and the interests of the company.

“These guys, I’m afraid, have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to minimise their obligations. In business terms, it’s what you have to do.

“I have to say I find it disappointing that he doesn’t cough up for Britain … I think it is a good thing if companies that earn great sums in Britain should pay their taxes in Britain.”



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