UK

Paradise Papers Leak: Prince Charles Becomes Latest Wealthy Person To Be Dragged In To Tax Havens Scandal

The Duchy of Cornwall allegedly invested millions of pounds in offshore funds and companies.

07/11/2017 18:57 GMT | Updated 07/11/2017 20:28 GMT

Prince Charles’s private estate has allegedly invested millions of pounds in offshore funds and companies, the latest Paradise Papers leak has revealed.

The heir to the throne also allegedly campaigned to alter climate change agreements without disclosing his private estate had a financial interest in such a rule change, according to BBC Panorama.

The latest accusations on Tuesday come after it was revealed that the Queen’s private estate invested in controversial retailer BrightHouse as part of £10 million paid into funds in the Cayman Islands.

Lai Seng Sin / Reuters
Prince Charles has now been dragged into the Paradise Papers leak.

Millions of documents have been leaked as part of the so-called Paradise Papers, which reveal how the wealthy secretly invested large sums in offshore tax havens. 

The BBC reports that the latest leaked documents show the Duchy of Cornwall made offshore investments totalling $3.9 million in four funds in the Cayman Islands in 2007.

There is no suggestion of tax avoidance and this is legal.

A Duchy of Cornwall spokesperson said that Prince Charles voluntarily pays income tax on any revenue from his estate, the BBC reports.

The Paradise Papers, which are being trawled over by 100 media groups, including the BBC and The Guardian, also allegedly show that the Prince of Wales started campaigning for changes to two significant environmental agreements weeks after Sustainable Forestry Management (SFM) sent his office lobbying documents.

Prince Charles was a friend of the late Hugh van Cutsem, a director of SFM.

The company’s board members invested in land to protect it from deforestation.

The minutes of a SFM board meeting from February 2007 allegedly show the duchy recently becoming an investor in the company.

According to the Guardian and BBC, the minutes from the meeting read: “The Chairman thanked Mr van Cutsem for his introduction of the Duchy of Cornwall and the Board unanimously agreed that the subscription by the Duchy of Cornwall be kept confidential except in respect of any disclosure required by law.”

The 2007 shares in the environmental firm, registered in Bermuda, allegedly amounted to $113,500.

The following year, the prince released a video calling for new ways of supporting rainforests.

A Clarence House spokesman said to the BBC that the Prince of Wales had “certainly never chosen to speak out on a topic simply because of a company that it may have invested in.

“In the case of climate change his views are well known, indeed he has been warning of the threat of global warming to our environment for over 30 years.

“Carbon markets are just one example that the prince has championed since the 1990s and which he continues to promote today.”

The duchy is believed to have sold its stake in the firm for $325,000 a year later.