Paradise Papers | Queen's private estate sent millions to Bermuda and Cayman Islands

Duchy of Lancaster headquarters

Millions of Queen Elizabeth's private funds have been invested in offshore tax havens, as revealed in a cache of 13.4 million leaked files called the "Paradise Papers", which were obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The Queen's private estate has been revealed to have invested millions of pounds in BrightHouse the retail chain criticised for exploiting financially vulnerable people, alongside the collapsed off-license retailer Threshers.

It said that all its investments were legitimate. While there is nothing unlawful about holding money offshore, in many cases the disclosures may be embarrassing.

The Duchy says it still holds the Dover Street investment, which is expected to mature in two to three years.

In addition, it is noted that in these investments, there is nothing illegal, as there is no evidence that the Queen does not pay taxes. She is also the legal owner of numerous swans on the River Thames.

The documents, released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists this past weekend, name more than 120 business and political leaders, including several in the orbit of the Trump administration, connected to more than 200,000 offshore tax shelters.

In October 2017, the company - the UK's biggest "rent-to-own" retailer - was slapped with a US$20 million fine for not acting as a "responsible lender".

The Duchy added that the Queen, who is officially exempt from United Kingdom tax laws, "voluntarily pays tax" on income she receives from the estate.

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

"The Duchy s investment policy is based on advice and recommendations from our investment consultants and asset allocation rather than tax strategy", said Chris Adcock, the duchy's chief finance officer.

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.

Graham Smith, the CEO of Republic, said: "The Queen's personal wealth and investments mean she has a direct interest in government decisions about tax".

Such schemes are legal, but "questions may be asked about whether the monarch should be investing offshore", the broadcaster said.

The Queen doesn't directly oversee the Duchy's investments, and most of its income, while private, goes toward covering the expenses for her and other royals that aren't covered by public funds through the sovereign grant.

The documents show the Duchy of Lancaster put 5 million pounds in the Jubilee Absolute Return Fund Limited in Bermuda in 2004, with the investment coming to an end in 2010.



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