Published: Thu, November 09, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

The Queen should say sorry for her offshore investments, Jeremy Corbyn suggests

The Queen should say sorry for her offshore investments, Jeremy Corbyn suggests

JEREMY CORBYN called for a public inquiry into tax avoidance yesterday following the explosive Paradise Papers revelations.

Just like Panama Leaks, Paradise Papers is a world wide investigation into offshore activities of the world's most powerful people and companies.

Despite no tax advantages reportedly being gained by investing the Queen's money offshore, the news is likely to spark arguments that greater control must be placed on royal spending.

The investments were made in 2004 and 2005 by the Duchy of Lancaster, the queen's private financial manager.

The Queen's private estate has been found to have millions of pounds invested in offshore tax havens, according to reports.

It is alleged that the Duchy of Lancaster, which handles the Queen's investments, has held funds in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

The company which runs the Cayman Islands fund was later involved in buying interests as part of "Project Bertie", leading to its involvement in the takeover of two UK-based retail firms.

McClure suggested that a "simple" way to prevent overseas investment is to reimpose the old rules and ban overseas investment.

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The records show that as of 2007, the queen's personal estate invested in a Cayman Islands fund that in turn invested in a private equity company that controlled BrightHouse, a United Kingdom rent-to-own firm criticised by consumer watchdogs and members of Parliament for selling household goods to cash-strapped Britons on payment plans with interest rates as high as 99.9 percent.

The Paradise Papers are a huge cache of 13.4 million records, dating from 1950 to 2016, obtained by the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Hundreds of individuals and companies reportedly have their overseas tax affairs laid bare in the papers.

The spokesperson of the Duchy was quoted saying in the report, "The Duchy has only invested in highly regarded private equity funds following a strong recommendation from our investment consultants". The list includes many top officials from the Donald Trump administration, including US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and also Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. "All of our investments are fully audited and legitimate", it said.

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".

"I can understand totally the commercial reasons for the way in which the Super Fund would be investing this way".

The Queen does not manage the Duchy of Lancaster's investments, which are decided by a council, and pays tax voluntarily on any income.

He made the comment after he was specifically asked whether he wanted the Queen to apologise over her offshore investments.

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