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Queen's estate 'invested millions in offshore tax havens'

Alleged the Duchy of Lancaster, which handles investments, held funds in Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

Up to £10m of the Queen's private cash is reported to be in offshore portfolios.
Up to £10m of the Queen's private cash is reported to be in offshore portfolios. PA

The Queen's private estate has been found to have millions of pounds invested in offshore tax havens, according to reports.

A vast tranche of leaked financial documents, dubbed the Paradise Papers, have been analysed by media organisations.

It is alleged that the Duchy of Lancaster, which handles the Queen's investments, has held funds in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

Around £10 million of the Queen's private cash is said to have been tied up in offshore portfolios, the BBC reports.

There is nothing to suggest that any investments are illegal, the broadcaster added.

Around 13.4 million files are said to have been involved in the leak, which comes one year after the disclosure of the Panama Papers sent shockwaves through the world of business.

Two offshore service providers are said to be the source of the material, along with the company registries of 19 tax havens.

First obtained by the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, the documents have reportedly been analysed by almost 100 media organisations.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists oversaw the project, it is claimed.

Hundreds of individuals and companies reportedly have their overseas tax affairs laid bare in the papers.

US President Donald Trump's commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, is allegedly shown to have cash in a shipping company which deals with Russian leader Vladimir Putin's son-in-law.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross with Donald Trump
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross with Donald Trump PA

The Russian firm navigator, in which the offshore investments are reportedly held, has a partnership with Sibur, a gas company co-owned by Kirill Shamalov, who is married to Mr Putin's daughter.

A small portion of the Queen's investments - £3,208 - was found to have bought a holding in the lender BrightHouse, it is claimed.

The rent-to-buy firm has previously been accused of ripping off customers with high interest rates, but maintains it does responsible business.

Cash ended up in BrightHouse via a company called Dover Street VI Cayman Fund LP, in which the Duchy of Lancaster reportedly invested 7.5 million US dollars (£5.73m) in 2005.

The organisation bought an interest in a project involved in the takeover of BrightHouse and Threshers, which went bust.

A further £5 million was invested in 2004 in the Bermuda-based Jubilee Absolute Return Fund Ltd.

A spokesman 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 Dover Street investment is said to form only 0.3% of the total value of the Duchy.

The Duchy's investment in BrightHouse, meanwhile, totals 0.0006% of the Duchy's value.

The Queen voluntarily pays tax on any income she receives from the Duchy.

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