The leader of the UK's opposition Labour party has suggested QueenElizabeth II should apologise if her private estate invested roughly 11 million euros (10 million pounds) in offshore portfolios in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda to avoid paying tax in Britain, stated British media reports.
Hundreds of individuals and companies reportedly have had their overseas investments exposed by the files, which are also said to reveal that major global companies have exploited offshore schemes to avoid tax.
"We operate a number of investments and a few of these are with overseas funds".
The documents are part of a massive offshore leak released today dubbed the Paradise Papers - a trove obtained by the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, including the CBC. "All of our investments are fully audited and legitimate", the Duchy of Lancaster said in a statement.
David Pitt Watson, an executive fellow at the London Business School who focuses on responsible investments, said he "very much" doubts that the Queen knew where her money was invested. She is also the legal owner of numerous swans on the River Thames.
The investments were made in 2004 and 2005 by the Duchy of Lancaster, the queen's private financial manager.
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. Her assets are worth £519million according to the latest accounts.
The Duchy does not use taxpayer funds, nor does it pay taxes.
The Dover Street VI fund closed December 2014 and has sold off its holdings and remunerated investors since, although based on available data it's unclear what the Duchy has received - although a June 2008 letter included in the leak shows the Duchy was entitled to US$361,367, on which it paid - 0.4 percent (US$1,505) tax.
One of the Duchy's offshore investments has generated some controversy.
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. However, the question may arise whether the monarch to invest offshore. Per the documents, some of the money was invested in a fund that ended up contributing to BrightHouse, a chain with an alleged history of irresponsible lending, and liquor store chain Threshers, which went belly-up in 2010 after owing £17.5 million in United Kingdom taxes.
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