Tax probe: Queen Elizabeth II in trouble

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Britain’s main opposition party called for a public inquiry on Monday after the Paradise Papers identified Queen Elizabeth II and a donor to the ruling Conservatives as users of controversial offshore tax avoidance services.

“Inspite of government claims of cracking down on tax dodgers, #paradisepapers confirm tax avoidance is clearly continuing,” Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell said on Twitter.

Queen Elizabeth II begins 3 days of birthday celebrations
Queen Elizabeth II begins 3 days of birthday celebrations

“The PM or the chancellor need to explain how this scandal has been allowed to go on so long and what action is to be taken now,” McDonnell said.

A BBC programme on Sunday, based on the leaked papers, highlighted the investment of 10 million pounds (13 million dollars) into funds in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda by the queen’s Duchy of Lancaster estate.

Such schemes are legal, but “questions may be asked about whether the monarch should be investing offshore,” the broadcaster said.

Former Conservative deputy chairman, Michael Ashcroft, widely known as Lord Ashcroft, was also identified in the papers.

“If the identification of Lord Ashcroft, a major Tory party funder, on the list and if the allegations of tax avoidance are true, it means that the prime minister has questions to answer,” McDonnell told Sky News.

He called for a public inquiry and “measures to ensure openness and transparency” on tax avoidance.

The Paradise Papers are a huge cache of 13.4 million records, dating from 1950 to 2016, obtained by the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.


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