In Brief

Paradise Papers: Prince Charles’s estate held £3m offshore

MP demands transparency after revelations about Royal’s investment in Caymans and Bermuda

Prince Charles’s private estate made offshore investments totalling $3.9m (£3m) in four funds in the Cayman Islands in 2007, according to information in the leaked Paradise Papers documents.

The Duchy of Cornwall also “secretly” bought shares worth $113,500 in Bermuda company Sustainable Forestry Management Ltd (SFM) while the Prince was lobbying on climate change policy, according to a report by the BBC’s Panorama programme. 

This SFM investment almost tripled in just over a year, says the BBC, although it is unclear why the shares rose as the environmental agreements were not changed despite the Prince’s lobbying efforts.

The Duchy says the Royal has no direct involvement in the investments, reports The Guardian. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Clarence House said the Prince of Wales has “never chosen to speak out on a topic simply because of a company that the Duchy [of Cornwall] may have invested in”.

Although there is no suggestion of tax avoidance or unlawful behaviour, the revelations - which come just days after the Queen’s private estate was reported to have invested £10m offshore - “are bound to be embarrassing to the heir”, says the Daily Express

“There is a conflict of interest between his own investments of the Duchy of Cornwall and what he’s trying to achieve publicly,” Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, told the BBC. “And I think it’s unfortunate that somebody of his importance, of his influence, becomes involved in such a serious conflict.”

Labour MP Margaret Hodge told The Guardian that greater openness about offshore investments was needed. 

“It seems clear to me that Prince Charles could not have known or understood the nature of the investment,” she said, “[but] what is clear is that there should be proper transparency of all investments made by the Duchy of Cornwall.”

“never chosen to speak out on a topic simply because of a company that [the Duchy of Cornwall] may have invested in”.

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