The transparency of the royal finances have been dragged up again as the Paradise Papers – a huge batch of leaked documents – show Queen Elizabeth‘s Duchy of Lancaster invested in offshore funds in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.
I’ll let the BBC explain this:
“About £10m of the Queen’s private money was invested offshore, leaked documents show. The Duchy of Lancaster, which provides the Queen with an income, held funds in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. A small amount ended up in the company behind BrightHouse, a chain accused of irresponsible lending, and Threshers, which went bust owing £17.5m in UK tax. The Duchy said the BrightHouse holding now equates to £3,208 and it was not involved in fund investment decisions. It added it had been unaware the stores featured in the investments.
“The chief finance officer of the £500m estate, Chris Adcock, told the BBC: ‘Our investment strategy is based on advice and recommendation from our investment consultants and appropriate asset allocation… The Duchy has only invested in highly regarded private equity funds following a strong recommendation from our investment consultants.’
“A spokesperson for the Duchy of Lancaster added: ‘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 Queen voluntarily pays tax on any income she receives from the Duchy.’
“Details about the Duchy’s investments came to light in the Paradise Papers – a leak of 13.4m documents from companies including Appleby, one of the world’s leading offshore law firms. The two funds were based in British overseas territories with no corporation tax and at the centre of the offshore financial industry. But the Duchy said it was not aware there were tax advantages to it from investing in offshore funds, adding that tax strategy was not a part of the estate’s investment policy. […]
“The Duchy said its investment in the Cayman Islands fund is due to continue until 2019 or 2020 and amounts to 0.3% of the total value of the estate, while its interest in BrightHouse now equates to just 0.0006% of its wealth. The Duchy did not provide a figure for its interest in Threshers. […] The Duchy’s 2017 annual report says it ‘gives ongoing consideration regarding any of its acts or omissions that could adversely impact the reputation of the Duchy or Her Majesty The Queen’.
“Labour MP Margaret Hodge, the former chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said she was ‘pretty furious’ with the Queen’s investment advisers, saying they were bringing her reputation into disrepute. ‘It is so obvious that if you’re looking after the money of the monarchy, you’ve got to be actually cleaner than clean and you must never go near the dirty world of money laundering, tax avoidance, tax evasion or actually making money in dubious ways,’ she said. […]
“Although the Duchy is not subject to tax, since 1993 the Queen has voluntarily paid tax on any income she receives. The Duchy’s annual report and accounts include a summary of its holdings and financial performance and are put before Parliament. The offshore investments were not referenced in the reports but there is no requirement for specific details of the Duchy’s holdings to be disclosed. […]
“The Duchy said the Queen ‘takes a keen interest in the Duchy’s estates and tenants’ but ‘appoints a chancellor and the Duchy Council to administer the affairs of Her Duchy. The chancellor delegates the oversight to the Duchy to the Council’. Investors in the Dover Street VI Cayman Fund LP made a commitment for a ‘given period’ and are ‘not party to its ongoing investment decisions’ or where money is ‘ultimately invested’, it added. Asked whether the Duchy had other investments in offshore funds, it said it ‘currently invests in a fund domiciled in Ireland’.”
From what I understand, nothing the Duchy of Lancaster did here was illegal, and the problem is the optics: whenever people hear ‘offshore accounts’ they think tax evasion; the Duchy of Lancaster doesn’t provide specific details of their investments in their yearly released accounts; and BrightHouse and Threshers are morally garbage companies.
More than anything, this mess tells me I should be paying more attention to my own investments.
71 thoughts on “Paradise Papers reveal Queen Elizabeth’s offshore investments”
Yes, it has always a bitter taste if someone has money on the Cayman Islands.
But I will not defend those super rich people.I don’t like their avoiding of taxes, it’s not social for the common people and I will never call it ok.The common people have to.watch what those do who rule this world(sadly, always the richest, not those with the best morals).
But, I have to say, if the Queen really always paid her taxes, I’m okay with her.
Exactly! The tax man is going to come after me if I even owe them a $100 at the end of the year! I have to pay it back. But these rich people, they can get away with not paying anything at all!
So much for being stewards of the realm and commonweal. They take but are not willing to give and support the people and their well-being. Rather puts all that mental health Heads Together malarkey in perspective too.
Exactly MaventheFirst. The super rich have always screwed over the 99% since time immemorial. The only difference is, and one which I’m glad for, is that we can find out about this info out and have a dissent without worrying about being labeled as traitors to the Crown.
I don’t have sympathy for these rich folks hiding their millions. One year I was hit with interest payments for having an extra $100 in my TFSA account that I didn’t realize I had. And then I was charged interest for every single month that same extra $100 was there. It’s supposed to be a tax free savings account but it is capped at a certain amount.
I don’t have a million or the millions these people get. And to be frank most of them inherited their fortune instead of earning it themselves. Part of the issues of the world are because too few people have too much money in their hands, the Queen included.
It will be the standard royal rule – if the Queen did something right, she was admirable, diplomatic and wise. If she did something wrong, the poor woman was badly advised by those she trusted.
BrightHouse is a horrible company though. For non-UK people, it preys on low income families by allowing them to acquire white goods and furniture on hire purchase, but the interest rates are horrific. The Guardian and Citizens Advice Bureau have been challenging them for years and there were various court cases where BrightHouse were required to pay compensation to those it over charged. For the Queen to have investments in a company that profits so cynically off the poor? Not good optics at all.
Your first paragraph sums up the situation nicely. I recall the same argument of the Queen being ‘poorly advised’ when it was revealed that public monies ear-marked for BP repairs and most definitely in the Queen’s purview had been diverted elsewhere ie family. You’re right – a shadow minister said today that the Queen was poorly advised. More pussy-footing and refusal to demand accountability due to the Queen’s status. Why wouldn’t she know where her assets were invested? She has never struck me as anything but canny. I don’t care about the optics; I care about the reality of the situation. Why are those to whom so much is given not held to a higher standard?
The Queen is a barely literate fool who has a habit of digging her head in the sand. She doesn’t have the position that she has today due to some exceptional talent or brains. It is possible to believe that this uneducated woman stuck in the past would be ill informed and ill advised.
We know the BRF is corrupt. The lack of transparency is a glaring signpost. This provides some concrete evidence. Off with their heads!
While things may be entirely different for 1%ers, I can tell you that for some people, if you have financial advisers handling your investments, you don’t always know exactly which invests are where because the point of financial advisers is that they handle all that stuff for you. Obviously you tell them generally where you want the money to go, but in terms of stock markets and fund investments, they handle that stuff for you and unless you keep constant track of where everything is, it is perfectly plausible to not know exactly where the money is invested. Also, if you’ve invested in a fund, you don’t have control over which companies the fund invests in.
Yes, this is why we have a financial adivsor and keep up on stuff. And we sure don’t have that kind of money, just some inheritance.
I can imagine HM didn’t really know what was going on. She is a woman in her nineties who has people look after all that for her, she’s no financial wizard who’d take an interest; this is why you hire people.
It is still on her but to what extent who knows and we will never know. It’s not as if she’d ever be transparent about anything, she’s built her life on being generic and unreadable for the monarchy’s survival. Perhaps with Charles on the throne things will change, at least a little bit, though I’m sure their annual accounts CH publishes aren’t much more than a PR stunt.
Sorry, but I do have an adviser and he invests nothing without running it by me. If I don’t understand, he explains. He chooses the investments, but I have the final word. I am small potatoes investing, but if I was much wealthier, I would still want to know and control.
At 91, the Queen might no longer be hands on, but someone in the royal family should be. Perhaps Charles should spend less energy trying to hide finances from public view, and more time making sure their financial arrangements coincide with their ethical views.
And I especially like your point about “Also, if you’ve invested in a fund, you don’t have control over which companies the fund invests in.”
I think this is a well written and well thought out comment!
The funds provide a breakdown of where they invest and to be a conscientious investor the Queen or her people could ask for the breakdown. Any competent financial advisor must provide that information upon request. I assume the UK is as regulated as Canada in terms of financial advisor obligations and when advisors are licensed for securities and mutual funds they have strict obligations in terms of what they provide to their clients.
They should also be providing monthly updates of the investments and again you could see the progress of every investment.
Whether or not the clients read this information is up to them, but it is highly unlikely the areas of investment are hidden from the Queen or her representatives.
Article from David McClure who is writing a book about royal money; let’s hope it’s rigorous:
The so called royal family already steals taxpayer money and profits off of its citizens. Nothing new here.
I think Bono is trying the same tactic, he is ‘shocked’ that his interests were dubiously invested. I read that the Queen used to not be allowed to invest offshore on principle and that those rules were changed in the 1950s.
Does this actually surprise anyone they’ll say she had no idea and everyone will move on if it was a politician they would be seen as incompetent
The problem is:We can’t do anything against it.
I don’t know why the British Family think it’s
necessary to have money there, they have more than enough.
We could protest as much as we want.Politicians and those with money will always help each other.We don’t have to say anything in this, it’s sick, not just here.
That’s why there’s no place in a democracy for an unelected head of state every time there’s a scandal this lot use another royal story and everyone’s forgiven its a farce the younger ones spend there time complaining while living in the lap of luxury while people on job seekers are put work expierce doing 30 hours a week for rich companies for jobseekers allowance and we are supposed to be exited that harry might get married soon so what we can pay for another person to be waited on hand and foot whilst playing human Barbie while having children that are no more special then any other but get goven every advantage while we bow as if they are something special people here are suffering finacely why they are hiding money abroad did you know a few years ago the queen tried to claim winter fuel allowance for her palaces which is meant for pensioners it’s a bloody farce she also gets a yearly grant for repairs to the palace which given we are gonna fork out 370 mil for Buckingham palace we can ause it wasn’t spent on up keep are they gonna blame advisors for that to ?
Lilibet has been naughty. Very very naughty! Yep anyone who wants to marry into this greedy, hypocrite, corrupt family- their motives are suspect (it has little to do with love). That includes Saintly Humanitarian Meghan and the Hypocrite Harry
Sometimes it can be love. Diana loved Charles.
Diana was so sweetly naive, she sure didn’t marry Charles for tge money.She always saw the person.
Kate and Meghan are different here, they also see the status of their husband/boyfriend.
The idea that diana was naive is a myth this is a woman who wanted to marry Charles so much she pretended to like everything he did then did a one sixty after marriage the same woman who said there where three of us in this marriage for sympathy while destroying other womans marriages while sleeping with their husband then stalking them by phone she grew up around the royal family she knew the deal then played the victim
Those are rumors.
Kitty – not rumors but very true, even those who are on Diana’s “side” admit a lot of her bizarre and awful behavior.
They both got hoodwinked imo. She loooved the idea of a magical prince, Barbara Cartland style; and he thought she looooved the country and that life just as he did.
The BBC investigative programme Panorama has learned that £10m of the Queen’s personal fortune is off shore and tax free. It’s not illegal, but it’s not good for the head of state to avoid tax. All her money needs to be managed transparently, it is not morally acceptable. She would still be a very rich woman indeed.
I don’t doubt that the Queen wasn’t aware of these investments but the people who manage her accounts are playing “hot potato” with their responsibilities and in turn have put the Queen in a difficult position. I agree that there is definitely a need for greater transparency in regards to *all* of the royal finances, including housing of senior and less senior members of the family.
If a politician or actor made this excuse they would be dragged over hot coals but when its the queen she gets forgiven ? If we don’t pay are council tax or tv license we can get sent to jail but the queen finds ways to avoid tax and she seen as some poor woman who’s been misled by her advisors she one of the most powerful woman in the world she kowns what goes on with her money why do you think the royal family keeps everyone in the dark without transparency about their funds?
Well, I never said that she’s “some poor woman” nor did I say “she gets forgiven” simply that from my own experience I don’t know every exact fund my investments are put into, that is why I pay administration fees to my investment managers. I have made my wishes known that I only want to invest in ethical and ecologically prudent funds but unless I want to handle all my investments on my own, my only available option is to use a company that specializes in investing.
I no you didn’t but I’m starting to think that’s what the royal family want us to believe she gets a extra million every year but apparently can’t get decent advisors
I’m the same as you, Lauri. I have a financial manager who handles the investment stuff, and I have no idea, really, which companies the mutual fund I’ve invested in are invested in.
There are “ethical” choice mutual funds. My pension plan had one. It didn’t go up as much during bull runs, but it didn’t go down as much during bear dives.
I get that the queen’s investment portfolio is probs much more vast and diverse than mine but I know where I’m invested. I meet W/my financial planner and we make those decisions and they inform me where all my $$ is.
Are we to believe that the queen who has millions invested just told them to invest in whatevs?? Maybe, She is totes oblivious but that is clearly when peeps get into trouble.
I always find the statement “they voluntarily pay taxes” laughable. Like they are doing the people a great service! Yet, they have it so balmoral and sandringham are private yet pay no inheritance tax because of e sovereign to sovereign thing and in doing so screwing the tax payers out of millions.
There will never be transparency with royal money. I’m positive they have funds and assets we will never know about.
Windsor Castle, which the Queen claims is her *home* has billions of pounds in artwork and other furnishings. When the fire destroyed several rooms of furnishings, etc., in the castle,which amounted to over 57 million pounds, the Queen’s advisors requested that the bill be charged to the taxpayers, but the request was denied. In order to raise the money needed, it was decided that Buckingham Palace be opened to visitors, and the money realized would go towards the repairs of Windsor. Buckingham Palace is in dire need of repairs but it seems that those repairs will not be done until Charles takes over.
Oh happy Monday, there’s a state event happening in Spain!! Yay bling?
I love the looks leti and Felipe give each other? I didn’t realize the first lady of Israel needed o2. The pics of she and Leti waking together are nice
I wonder if there will be a tiara-worthy state banquet?! I really like the shoes Letiza wore today, I would definitely wear them!
Boo to you! Don’t whisper such thoughts!! I need some sparkly bling going on!
I loved her shoes and the purple dress! She’s made up for the floral monstrosity she wore the other day! I found the dress on sale but they only had size 0!!? sadness but I did see another purple dress I liked but it’s not on sale ?
Oh you misunderstand Sarah, I hoping for a tiara-worthy banquet!! 🙂 🙂 no one can rock a tiara and gown quite like Letiza!
KMR- are you going to cover William’s comments about populating less?
Ha! I love that phrase populating less! I found that whole speech hypocritical and ironic. Just a few days prior you Have Harry saying they don’t go into places telling them what to do, yet you have a privileged white man expecting his third child telling a whole continent about population control!! Not to mention his own personal hunting. Is he going to address the health care, poverty and civil wars going on in these countries in Africa that cause people to have such large families? I don’t think so
If anyone from KP reads this blog, please inform William and his speech writer that Africa is not a country and referring to it as such makes him seem stupid and incompetent
I may be mistaken, but I remember reading that William, in response to a question he was asked on having more children, somewhat emphatically stated he only wanted *two*. However, Kate on the other hand, stated she wanted more, vis-à-vis, another child by her 35th birthday, and another before she’s 40. Ergo, I’m shocked that William is so happy/excited about baby #3, considering he was so adamant previously.Also, according to the reason Kate has given for adding to their family, i.e., she wanted for the kids to have a close same sex relationship like that of William & Harry. I suppose that Kate is not going to stop at 3, because if baby #3 is a boy, George will have his companion, and then they’ll have to try for a girl to give Charlotte her companion. I know that the Cambs do not owe the public any explanations as to why they want more kids, etc., but IMO the public deserve more truthfulness and respect. W&K seem to thrive on being incongruent.
I can’t really see William acting upset about the 3rd child, especially in public. He might not have the best PR sense but even he could see that would be a disaster.
If William only wanted 2 kids then it looks like Kate isn’t paying attention to what he is saying?
I’ve always thought that Kate was strong willed, look at how she fought to keep the other girls away. This child is Kate’s choice and William is just having to go along with it?
It’s not like he has to be that directly involved in raising them so it’s probably not that big of a deal to have another kid since he doesn’t have to work more hours to pay for the kid and they get another nanny.
Kate and Carole always win, and William does not have an inkling that he’s being manipulated — his head is still in the sand like the proverbial ostrich. Kate effectively shut down all the talk and memorials, etc., for Diana by announcing the 3rd baby. For a while Kate was irrelevant and voila, cue 3rd baby, and now the spotlight is on Kate again. What a gal!!
William knew. They have skip Mystique TWO YEARS in a row since the Zika outbreak. So this idea of poor little William had no idea what was going on is ridiculous. Baby #3 has been planned for a while.
Kids have been a great PR shield for W&K. Whether people who fund their lifestyle will be pleased at being forced to provide for more ‘royals’ is another story… Same goes for Harry and whoever he marries. Especially as we now know about the Paradise Papers.
As we know, W&H’s adult cousins, Peter and Zara, are shielded through living on their mother’s estate, and by doing so are advantaged by publicly-funded security etc as well as the Queen shooting Duchy money to Anne and Edward, and presumably Andrew since they are all jobless. It’s a racket, for sure.
If it’s their own – that is, really their own – money, then what they do with it is their business. But it’s almost impossible for the public to discern the separation between private money and public funds, made more so by Charles and the Queen using their power to stop FoI inquiries re. full financial disclosure. There is ample evidence of mismanagement by the Queen of public resources to keep the public palaces (eg BP) repaired.
Oh, she’s 91, and she doesn’t know what’s going on, has advisors etc. At what point does the Queen become accountable for the money she’s been given? Where does her personal responsibility kick in? With regard to tax haven funds, what questions did she ask, what directions did she give, and what questions did she choose not to ask? If she’s not up to the job, the time has come to abdicate. The biggest asset the BRF has on its side is the sycophancy of some Brits refusing to hold this family accountable for reasons past understanding.
I agree with your comments. I’m actually starting to feel sorry for William. I thought at the time that he was manipulated by Carole into having to ask Kate to marry him, if he hadn’t then he would have looked like a cad and I can just imagine the leaks in the press about “poor Kate” from Middleton Manor.
Kate’s an attention seeker, ever since the day she flashed her behind while at school. But what gets to me is that she is not willing to learn – she was able to get into university so surely she should be able to watch, listen and learn? Afterall that’s just what Sophie did? But 6 years in and William is still having to propel her from place to place with a hand on the small of her back. It makes me feel like she just doesn’t care?
Can someone educate me on the source of the Queen’s money? Here it says she gets the rents from the Duchy of Lancaster. But I read elsewhere that George III signed a deal with Parliament that the Government kept the rents in return for a fixed annual income and erasure of his substantial debts, and each subsequent monarch has kept that deal going. Are they both true?
Yes, you have the Duchy of Lancaster–quite like the heir’s Duchy of Cornwall–then the Sovereign Grant. The whole deal you speak of was re-arranged in 2011 (I believe) with all profits from the Crown estates going to the government, with the RF having a percentage of it, I think like 12-15%, to fund activities and whatnot. It’s why it went up, to fund palace repairs, because HM hasn’t done crap about it.
Don’t forget that Charles has/is lobbying for the Duchy of Cornwall to be transferred to RF private ownership. It and Lancaster belong to the Crown ie the people of Great Britain. This family is nothing if not greedy and dishonest.
In the first pic, what Tiara does The Queen have on her head?
Looks like the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland without the base. MY FAVORITE.
Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara.
Sarah, she did wear a tiara!!!! Oh happy day!!!
Yay!! Love the jewels and her skirt is beautiful! She’s my new arm envy! Victoria and Michelle O used to hold that position but I think I’m moving her to top afooter seeing hers??
Yeah, I’ve seriously got to up my push-up game 🙂 And of course her posture is perfect! Also loving how she’s supporting the President’s wife, very sweet 🙂
Help Queen Lauri!
I’m looking for some upper arm exercises as I can’t do push ups (can’t lean on my left hand after an accident which left me needing a plate and other bits and pieces to hold my wrist together).
(hope you don’t mind me asking but you are the posture guru here)
It is not just The Queen with money in shady places – I live in Australia and our Prime Minister has money in the Cayman Islands. Meanwhile the average person has trouble paying their bills as they pay so much tax . . . . and the 1% find ways of paying next to none.
The greedy are such a burden.
Found this about ‘planet Windsor’;
Choice to keep certain assets, like jewellery with no inventory since some is private and some publicly-owned so it conveniently disappears into a void. SMH.
Jen how much do you think her personal jewels collection s worth?
Priceless no doubt – if “Big Blue” has a big ticket value it is because of Diana – that ring was available in the day to anyone who wanted it – but I bet the other “Sloane Rangers” who had one before it was associated with RF have found that their rings are worth less now than what was paid for them nearly 40 years ago
If she’s got ten million to put of shore it makes you wonder how much more they secretly have
Kitty, I have no idea and can only quote the article which estimates it at tens of millions of pounds:
“Somewhat suspiciously there is no publicly available inventory of the Queen’s private jewellery collection, worth many tens of millions of pounds. The Royal Collection does not have a totally comprehensive computerised record of all her treasures. This again is convenient since the collection may contain a mixture of state and private assets.
When it comes to the Royal Philatelic Collection – which is privately-owned by the sovereign – there is remarkably no inventory of the stamps, the most comprehensive collection of British and Commonwealth stamps in the world, worth perhaps in excess of £50m.”
Oh I imagine they do not want an inventory of the jewellery collection because they do not want to discuss provenance!
In some ways I’m more interested in companies paying proper taxes, I’m thinking of you in particular Apple!
But to put money in places like the Caymans? It just seems to invite trouble and maybe a dodgy investment which can be easily lost as it sounds so high risk?
Charles has become embroiled in the Paradise Papers, and it’s looking worse than in Liz’s case. The Duchy of Cornwall invested in a Bermuda-based forestry company owned by a friend of Charles. Charles then lobbied on their behalf without declaring the conflict of interest. Naughty naughty! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41901175
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