Leaks from what has been dubbed the “Paradise Papers” have been reported by the media, including CNN Money. Britain the BBC said it’d seen documents that show the Duchy of Lancaster, which provides the Queen with an income, had invested more than $13.1 million into funds in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.
The Queen hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing. However, these investments are a bit of an embarrassment for a royal family that closely guards its reputation.
"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 Duchy of Lancaster said in a statement.
The Duchy noted that the Queen, who’s officially exempt from British tax laws, "voluntarily pays tax" on income she receives from the estate.
The $680 million Duchy, which provides her with an income to cover official expenses, says it invests primarily in commercial, agricultural, and residential properties. The Duchy generated $25 million in net income in the most recent fiscal year, but one of its offshore investments has created some controversy.
The BBC reported that the Duchy invested $7.5 million in Dover Street VI Cayman Fund LP in 2005. The fund, which invested in medical and tech companies, later invested into U.K. retailer BrightHouse. The Duchy said its investment in the company is worth a mere $4,200. But BrightHouse, which gave customers credit to buy its home furniture and appliances, later was forced to compensate consumers after the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority found it wasn’t a responsible lender.
In all likelihood, the Queen probably had no idea where her money was invested, just like many of us.
Reference: CNN Money (November 6, 2017) “Queen's estate invested $13 million in offshore tax havens”