By Kenya Confidential Economic Editor, November 6, 2017
Leaked financial documents show that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II the head of Anglican Church, siphoned millions of pounds from her private estate to hide in offshore tax havens.
Millions of pounds from the private estate of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II have been hidden in offshore tax haven funds, a huge new leak of financial documents revealed on Sunday.
Around £10 million (Ksh 1,4 billion) of the Queen’s private money was hidden in funds held in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, according to the leaked papers, which were first reported in Britain by the BBC and the Guardiannewspaper.
Exploiting the poor
They said the funds reinvested the money in an array of businesses, including controversial rent-to-own retailer, BrightHouse, which has been accused of exploiting the poor, and a chain of alcohol stores which later went bankrupt.
The investments, which were entirely legal, were made through the Duchy of Lancaster, which provides the monarch with an income and handles investments of her vast estate and remain current, the media outlets said.
There is no suggestion that the Queen’s private estate acted illegally or failed to pay any taxes due.
But the leaks may raise questions over whether it is appropriate for the British head of state to invest in offshore tax havens.
The Queen’s move must have been triggered by growing discontent among the British over the Monarchy in which some human beings are born to lord over what are referred to as subjects. The day may not be far when the likes of the British royal family will seek refuge in foreign countries and rely on the funds being stashed in offshore accounts.
A third party
A spokeswoman for the Duchy of Lancaster said: “All of our investments are fully audited and legitimate.”
“We operate a number of investments and a few of these are with overseas funds.”
She added: “the Queen voluntarily pays tax on any income she receives from the Duchy.”
The spokeswoman noted that one of the fund investments represents only 0.3 per cent of the total value of the Duchy.
Meanwhile, the money put into BrightHouse “is through a third party”, and equates to just 0.0006 per cent of the Duchy’s value, she added.
The investments emerged as part of a new mass leak — dubbed the Paradise Papers — by the US-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which was behind the 2016 Panama Papers release.
The latest haul contains 13.4 million documents mainly from Appleby, an offshore law firm with offices in Bermuda and beyond, which were first obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, and shared with the ICIJ and partner media outlets.
A spokesman for the British government’s taxation department on Sunday defended its efforts to tackle avoidance, noting it had secured an additional £160 billion ($209 billion, EUR180 billion) in taxes since 2010.
“This includes more than £2.8 billion from those trying to hide money abroad to avoid paying what they owe,” he said in a statement.
Tax avoidance and evasion
The spokesman added the department has 26,000 staff working on tax avoidance and evasion, while the government has provided an extra £800 million ($1 billion, EUR900 million) to fund their efforts.
Jeremy Corbyn, the left-leaning leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, reacted to the leaks on Twitter, linking to a video in which he had challenged the government on the issue in Parliament.
“There’s one rule for the super-rich and another for the rest when it comes to paying tax,” he wrote.
The British Monarch, who diverts her subjects money to offshore havens, turned down requests to compensate Kenyan Maasai women gang-raped by her troops while training in Kenya. If the Queen can engage in foreign bank transactions bordering on money laundering nothing would stop her government bribing Kenyan leaders to renew military training agreements and overlook British troops atrocities on defenseless young women.
The latest reports explain why the British Embasses in Kenya and South Africa declined Kenya Confidential staff opportunity to attend illicit financial outflows investigative courses at London University. British firms are among the notorious multinationals that under-price their exports while grossly inflating machinery imports.