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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Friday, December 15, 2017

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Paradise Papers reveal Prince Charles’ offshore investments

Prince Charles was introduced to the company by its director

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LONDON, U.K. - Prince Charles’ private estate is revealed to have invested millions in offshore accounts and companies. 

One of them is said to be a Bermuda-registered company which is owned by one of his best friends, according to Paradise Papers.

According to reports, the Duchy of Cornwall’s decision to buy shares was confidential and the board members of the company, which invested in land to protect it from deforestation, were sworn to secrecy. 

The documents show that Prince Charles was introduced to the company by its director, Hugh van Cutsem, a millionaire horse breeder. 

They had known each other since their time in Cambridge.

The documents claim that Prince Charles campaigned to change climate change agreements and his private estate had an offshore account that would benefit from the rule change. 

According to the papers, the Duchy of Cornwall bought shares worth 58,000 pounds in Sustainable Forestry Management Ltd.

Reports also noted that the company traded in carbon credits, a market which had been created to deal with global warming. 

It is said that the two agreements hampered the company. 

Cutsem reportedly sent lobbying documents to Charles’ office and then the prince criticised the agreements.  In 2008, the Duchy sold its stake in SFM, which almost tripled in value. 

Reports added that the Duchy of Cornwall said the prince has no direct involvement in its investment.

Guardian reported that Charles has been making speeches and writing books on the environment since the 1980s. 

The duchy said that the prince’s track record on green issues and insisted he had “never chosen to speak out on a topic simply because of a company that the duchy may have invested in.”

It added that the prince did not have any “direct involvement in investment decisions.”

Labour MP and tax campaigner Margaret Hodge has said there is need of more transparency. 

She said, “It seems clear to me that Prince Charles could not have known or understood the nature of the investment in his friend’s company. What is clear is that there should be proper transparency of all investments made by the Duchy of Cornwall, that the Prince of Wales should not be involved in investment decisions and that the Treasury should monitor the investments to ensure that the reputation and integrity of our royal family is protected.”

Though the royal family publishes annual accounts, it does not go into details about investments.

This comes days after the Paradise Papers revealed that the Queen has invested 10 million pounds of her private money in offshore accounts, though it is said that she might not have been aware of that.

 

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