Tax Breaks in Paradise

Tax Breaks in Paradise

Tax Breaks in Paradise

Files released as part of the Paradise Papers project have exposed how Queen Elizabeth II invests in a number of offshore funds - on top of shielding income and gains from tax, the funds' own portfolios are rife with questionable investments.

Investments included the doomed off licence Threshers and Brighthouse, a loan-to-buy business accused of exploiting the poor. "All of our investments are fully audited and legitimate", the Duchy of Lancaster said in a statement.

Asked if the Queen should apologise for the offshore investments revealed in the papers, Mr Corbyn told the CBI's annual conference in London: "Well anyone that is putting money into tax havens in order to avoid taxation in Britain, and obviously investigations have to take place, should do two things - not just apologise for it but also recognise what it does to our society".

The investments by the Duchy of Lancaster emerged after the leak of a massive cache of documents being dubbed the Paradise Papers.

Last week the Financial Conduct Authority said BrightHouse had not been a "responsible lender" and ordered the firm to pay £14.8 million back to almost 250,000 customers.

First obtained by the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, the documents stem from two offshore service providers and company registries from 19 tax havens, the Guardian reports.

The Queen voluntarily pays tax on any income she receives from the Duchy, and her spokesman said she had not deliberately invested in BrightHouse.

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The £519 million ($680 million) Duchy, which provides the Queen with an income to cover official expenses, says it invests primarily in commercial, agricultural and residential properties. "The duchy investment in Brighthouse is through a third party and equates to £3,208", said the Duchy, which added it was unaware of investment in the retailers through its offshore funds.

Documents show that in 2005, the Duchy committed to an investment of 7.5 million pounds ($12.7 million Cdn in today's dollars) in the Dover Street fund, payable over time.

From at least 2004 to 2010, the duchy also invested in the Bermuda-based Jubilee Absolute Return Fund.

Though the investment still stands, and according to the Duchy is worth only a few thousands pounds, the initial investment remains undisclosed.

Her use of offshore tax havens is likely to generate criticism from activists seeking to abolish the monarchy in favor of a republic.

"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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