Huge Paradise Papers leak shows Queen invested in offshore funds

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The Queen's private estate has been revealed to have invested millions of pounds in BrightHouse the retail chain criticised for exploiting financially vulnerable people, alongside the collapsed off-license retailer Threshers.

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

The papers also exposed the tax engineering of more than 100 multinational corporations. and how the owners of jets and yachts used Isle of Man tax-voidance structures.

The Cayman Islands fund was subsequently invested in various medical and technology companies.

The Duchy of Lancaster, an organisation set up to provide the royal family with an independent source of income, invested £5.7 million in the Dover Street VI Cayman Fund LP in the Cayman Islands in 2005.

It was also found to have indirectly contributed funds to the now collapsed off-license retailer Threshers, which went bust in 2009 owing £17.5 million in United Kingdom tax and costing 6000 people their jobs.

In February 2015, chair of the APPG Yvonne Fovargue MP, releasing a report into rent-to-own firms, said: "Rent to Own Stores like BrightHouse charge inflated prices to some of the poorest people in the country".

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Just last week, it emerged BrightHouse had agreed to reimburse customers to the value of almost £15m after agreeing a compensation package with the Financial Conduct Authority, following a two-year investigation.

A spokesperson for the Duchy of Lancaster added: "We operate a number of investments and a few of these are with overseas funds".

Graham Smith, from the anti-Monarchy group, Republic said: "The Queen is responsible for her investments, she should have instructed her advisers to ensure her money was invested ethically".

The investments were made in 2004 and 2005 by the Duchy of Lancaster, the queen's private financial manager.

There is nothing illegal in the investments and no suggestion that the Queen is not paying tax.

The question raised by the leak of these papers today - is why the Duchy is choosing to invest some of its money offshore.

The Duchy of Lancaster said the BrightHouse holding now equated to £3208 and it was not involved in fund investment decisions.


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