Prince Charles has been accused of a “conflict of interests” after he reportedly lobbied to change climate-change agreements without revealing his private estate had an offshore financial interest in what he was promoting.
The secretive financial affairs of the future monarch have come to light in the Paradise Papers – millions of leaked documents which revealed the offshore investments of politicians and celebrities in low-tax jurisdictions.
They show in 2007, the Duchy of Cornwall – the $1.5b private estate that provides the prince with an income – purchased shares worth $195,000 in a Bermuda company that stood to benefit from a rule change, reports the BBC.
The future monarch was a friend of a director of Sustainable Forestry Management Ltd, whose board members invested in land to protect it from deforestation.
The prince’s involvement was so sensitive members of the Bermuda-based firm’s board were reportedly sworn to secrecy, reports The Guardian.
Just two weeks after the shares purchase, the prince started a campaign to change two major environmental agreements – the Kyoto Protocol and the European Union’s carbon trading system.
A former chief of the UK public standards watchdog described Prince Charles’s actions as a serious conflict of interest.
Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said: “There’s a conflict of interest between his own investments of the Duchy of Cornwall and what he’s trying to achieve publicly.
“And I think it’s unfortunate that somebody of his importance, of his influence, becomes involved in such a serious conflict.”
A spokesman for the Prince of Wales said the Queen’s eldest son “certainly never chosen to speak out on a topic simply because of a company that it may have invested in.
“In the case of climate change his views are well known, indeed he has been warning of the threat of global warming to our environment for over 30 years.”
The Prince of Wales’ private estate appears to have secretly invested in an offshore company which may have benefited from his campaigning. The Duchy of Cornwall bought shares in a Bermuda-registered business, the leaked ‘Paradise papers’ have revealed.
The Duchy of Cornwall is the name of Charles’ private estate, the revenue from which is awarded to The Prince of Wales.
With this money, the Queen’s son pays for public, charitable and private activities.
In 2007, Charles reportedly had 50 shares in a company named Sustainable Forestry Management. It was bought for around $100,000 and later sold around 2008 for $325,000.
Company board members which invested in land to protect it from deforestation were sworn to secrecy at the time.
Hugh van Cutsem, a millionaire horse breeder and Cambridge University friend of the Prince was director.
The share purchase would not give a tax advantage to the estate, but will prompt awkward questions for the Royal.
The Prince has a keen interest in the environment and called for new ways to support rainforests.
It may now be implied the company he invested in could have indirectly benefited from his public speeches on the matter.
However, the Duchy told The Times that Charles would have not had any “direct involvement in investment decisions” and that the estate’s finance and audit committee are sound.
It was claimed the Prince has “never chosen to speak out on a topic simply because of a company that the duchy may have invested in.”
The prince’s estate has never publicly declared any offshore interests, and the Royal household does not give detailed accounts of investments.
Van Cutsem died in 2013, but was director of SFM, a business designed to bring lucrative returns to those who invest in the future of tropical forests.
The company wound up in 2011.
The duchy is not required to pay UK tax on income or gains but Prince Charles makes voluntary payments.
using alarmist talk that he knows will benefit his investments..but lets be serious..charles doesnt need to make money from investments..hes already part of the wealthiest family on earth..
“It may now be implied the company he invested in could have indirectly benefited from his public speeches on the matter.”
anyway..fuck you charles..just for being you..
“The duchy is not required to pay UK tax on income or gains but Prince Charles makes voluntary payments.”
loose change found in his chariot..