Pass the Duchy to the... appropriate authorities


Written by Dan Haze
06 Monday 06th November 2017

Paradise Papers. No they’re not the latest king skin from Raw, it's the latest batch of leaked documents that reveal the financial dealings of politicians, celebrities, corporate giants and business leaders and how they’ve been fucking us over.  

Revealed by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with partners including the Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times. The 13.4m legal documents have been aptly named the Paradise Papers because of the idyllic profiles of many of the offshore jurisdictions whose workings are unveiled. They expose the global environments in which tax abuses can thrive. The people causing all the trouble are the usual suspects: illegal immigrants.

Yeah right! Its politicians, multinationals, celebrities and millionaires of course! The scope of the individual is broad; from BBC sitcoms and Russian oligarchs to the Premier League, the leak has called several industries into question.

Among the list of morally ambiguous characters is unsurprisingly one of the Trump’s top administration officials Wilbur Ross, who now sounds a lot more menacing than his first name lets on as it’s been revealed he kept a financial stake in a firm whose partners include a Russian company part-owned by President Putin’s son-in-law. Another is one of Justin Trudeau's top aides has also been linked to offshore schemes, which would prove embarrassing for the Canadian PM as he’s campaigned for the closure of tax havens.

Some of the stars of the worst program on earth ‘Mrs Brown's Boys’ also funneled their taxpayer salaries from the BBC1 show through schemes so as to avoid paying tax. Hopefully the need will call a much needed boycott of the antediluvian TV show.

But one of the most prolific of the affluent few accused is the QUEEN! FFS! How can we not even get the institution that introduced taxes to pay them! It was revealed that the Duchy has used offshore private equity funds designed to shield UK investors from having to pay US tax on their holdings and has invested around £10 million offshore.

Image result for the queen

The Duchy of Lancaster is a private estate managed to generate a return for the reigning monarch. It was set up in 1399 and manages land and investments held in trust for the Queen, who also holds the title of the Duke of Lancaster. The most recent filings by the duchy show it had assets worth £519m at the end of March. Any capital made from the Duchy’s investments are tax-free, however the Queen voluntarily pays tax on income she receives from the Duchy. The Duchy became a limited partner in Dover Street VI Cayman Fund LP which is a “feeder” for another American fund, which invests in venture capital and private equity funds around the world.

‘Feeder' being the operative word here, as this story evoke images of the world elite’s greed encompassing them completely.  

The release of the Paradise Papers reminds us that governments urgently need to tackle tax secrecy to help put an end to tax dodging. But movement towards an EU tax transparency deal has stalled. Luckily Oxfam is calling on the Chancellor to use next month’s Budget to commit to implementing tougher tax laws for UK-based multinationals by the end of 2019.

Greater tax transparency would make it easier to verify whether companies’ tax bills are in line with their real economic activity in every country where they do business – and to hold them accountable. However, until public reporting requirements are mandatory for all large businesses, widespread tax avoidance will continue to deprive governments rich and poor of revenue needed to provide essential services.


Check out the film Don’t Panic London made with Oxfam highlighting this issue.


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