Queen Elizabeth invested private funds in offshore tax havens and this was exposed after the “Paradise Papers” emerged. Based on the leaked documents, the British Queen has millions of funds stored in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.
The controversial exposè was reportedly obtained by Süddeutsche Zeitung, a German newspaper. Aside from the Queen, many other rich and famous personalities were revealed to have been involved in the offshore investment, probably to avoid huge tax payments in Britain.
The Duchy of Lancaster, the private estate that provides a source of independent income to the Queen, was said to have funds in the said territories that amount to £10 million or over US$13 million.
Further, the leaked files showed that parts of the Queen’s money were invested in an account that was contributing to a chain with a bad record of irresponsible lending called BrightHouse and Threshers, a liquor store chain. Ultimately, the former went bankrupt in 2010 after owing the U.K. some £17.5 million in taxes.
On Oct. 6, the Central Bureau of Investigation held a conference in connection with the Queen’s offshore investments. During the event, Jeremy Corbyn, chief of the Labor Party, said that “anyone who puts money into a tax haven to avoid paying tax should acknowledge the damage it does to society.”
The above statement was misquoted by the media, and it was reported that the labor leader was asking Her Majesty to issue a personal apology to the public for supposedly using offshore tax havens to evade tax. In a separate discussion, Corbyn clarified that as opposed to the reports, he did not specifically call out Queen Elizabeth to apologize for the matter but rather, his comment was for everyone involved.
Now, in response to the news of a tax scandal involving the Queen, the chief finance officer of the Duchy, Chris Adcock, told BBC, “Our investment strategy is based on advice and recommendation from our investment consultants and appropriate asset allocation.”
“We operate a number of investments and a few of these are with overseas funds. All of our investments are fully audited and legitimate,” the Duchy of Lancaster spokesperson added.
Vanity Fair reported that the Queen might not be aware that her money was invested offshore. It explained that Her Majesty’s private estate is being managed by 18 staff members, so the Duchy can invest her funds without her knowledge. Nevertheless, the spokesperson for the Duchy firmly stated that the Queen voluntarily pays her tax on the income she receives from them.
Finally, the big reveal in the “Paradise Papers” matters because the disclosure just shows illegal financial practice used by rich people. In the case of Queen Elizabeth, she is paying her tax although she is exempted from doing so. Her exemption makes her legally in the clear if an investigation for illegal investing in offshore tax havens would commence.
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