LONDON – The Leader of Britain’s opposition Labour party Jeremy Corbyn has suggested that Queen Elizabeth who has been named in latest Paradise Papers should tender an apology for using overseas tax havens if they were used to avoid taxation in the UK.
To a query at the CBI conference on Monday about whether the Queen should say sorry for making overseas investments or not, Corbyn replied that anyone putting money into tax havens for the purposes of avoidance should “not just apologise for it, recognise what it does to our society”.
At the conference, the oppositoin leader did not specifically mention the Queen, however, his spokesman later clarified that the Labour leader did not specifically call on the Queen to apologise but thought “anyone who puts money into a tax haven to avoid paying tax should acknowledge the damage it does to society”.
Mr Corbyn called for a full inquiry, public lists of company ownership, and a new tax enforcement unit to tackle tax evasion.
The comments came after the treasure trove of Paradise Papers laid bare the hidden wealth of financial giants including the Queen and several international political players.
According to paradise Papers, Queen Elizabeth II has invested millions of dollars in medical and consumer loan companies, Appleby’s files show.
While the Queen’s personal estate, the Duchy of Lancaster, provides some details of its investments in UK property, such as commercial buildings scattered across southern England, it has never disclosed details of its offshore investments.
The records show that as of 2007, the queen’s personal estate invested in a Cayman Islands fund that in turn invested in a private equity company that controlled BrightHouse, a UK rent-to-own firm criticised by consumer watchdogs and members of Parliament for selling household goods to cash-strapped Britons on payment plans with interest rates as high as 99.9 percent.
On the other hand, a spokesperson for the Duchy of Lancaster said: “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 Queen voluntarily pays tax on any income she receives from the Duchy.”