Published: Wed, November 08, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Queen Elizabeth Stashed Millions in Offshore Tax Havens: Paradise Papers

Queen Elizabeth Stashed Millions in Offshore Tax Havens: Paradise Papers

The Paradise Papers are a collection of leaked documents which allegedly reveal how politicians, celebrities, tech companies and other millionaires use offshore tax havens.

Suddeutsche Zeitung also alleged that Dover Street further invested in a subsidiary company called Vision Capital Partners VI B LP to buy into two United Kingdom retail chains, one of which was BrightHouse.

A spokesman for the Duchy of Lancaster said: "We operate a number of investments and a few of these are with overseas funds".

The documents are part of a massive offshore leak released today dubbed the Paradise Papers - a trove obtained by the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, including the CBC. All of our investments are fully audited and legitimate. There is no suggestion the Queen knew of specific investments. She is also the legal owner of numerous swans on the River Thames.

A Duchy of Lancaster fund invested in BrightHouse, which is accused of charging some of the UK's poorest people inflated prices.

Just last week, it emerged BrightHouse had agreed to reimburse customers to the value of almost £15m after agreeing a compensation package with the Financial Conduct Authority, following a two-year investigation.

In 2005, the Duchy agreed to put 7.5 million dollars in the Dover Street VI Cayman Fund LP.

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According to its website, the Duchy's gross income from its investment portfolio was 2.73 million pounds for the year ending March 2017.

The Duchy said in a statement that the investment in BrightHouse was made "through a third party", and equates to just 0.0006% of the Duchy's value. Per the documents, some of the money was invested in a fund that ended up contributing to BrightHouse, a chain with an alleged history of irresponsible lending, and liquor store chain Threshers, which went belly-up in 2010 after owing £17.5 million in United Kingdom taxes.

"The Queen voluntarily pays tax on any income she receives from the Duchy".

Opposition Labor MP Margaret Hodge, the former chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, said she was "pretty furious" with the Queen's investment advisers for endangering her reputation.

The Duchy confirmed to the Guardian it no longer has that stake but said it did have other investments offshore.

But the revelations will no doubt raise questions about whether the monarch should be investing in offshore finance.

"The Duchy has only invested in highly regarded private equity funds following a strong recommendation from our investment consultants", he said.

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