Prince Charles, van Cutsem and the forests

Much though my gossippy side would love a juicy scandal over the monarchy, grouse moor owners and huge amounts of money I can’t get too het up over the revelations over Prince Charles’s Duchy of Cornwall investing a small amount of his pile of money in rainforest carbon.

Having once been on Today to account for the RSPB having a tiny amount of our financial reserves invested in a product which contained a small proportion of Exxon shares, I feel the Duchy would be in a far worse position if Prince Charles’s money were invested in products whose green credentials are absent – and I bet they do!

Prince Charles is not someone whom I know or feel particularly warm towards, but I’d cut him a bit of slack here.  His money will be invested in many worse places, and what he says publicly will almost certainly be harming some of those investments as well as notionally benefitting others.




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8 Replies to “Prince Charles, van Cutsem and the forests”

  1. I suspect you are right: the reported amount of profit made on the shares would be pretty small change for the Prince of Wales and whatever other faults he may have I don't believe that his support for carbon credits for rain forests was likely to be motivated by potential personal financial gain. His lobbying on this matter was consistent with his long held and well known views.
    Had the Paradise Papers not been leaked we would not have known about this investment by the Duchy of Cornwall and I would say that there is a strong case to be made for much greater transparency regarding the financial arrangements and investment decisions of major institutions. The we could see for ourselves whether or not there is ever any potential conflict of interest involved between an investment made and the Prince's public stance on particular issues.

  2. The Paradise Papers have exposed a bunch of liars and cheats. Namely, the politicians who wrote the tax rules that make using offshore tax havens legal (their pension funds, and possibly ours, are invested there!) and are now expressing moral outrage that their tax rules are actually being employed. Have none of them ever had the opportunity to change them?

    But the fact is the Queen is the Head of State of many of these tax havens. Also, the Royal Family are EXEMPT from inheritance tax - one rule for them, but another for everyone else:-( Imagine if the Queen's estate had to hand over 40% of its value when she died?

    The question is, should our tax rules now be changed?

    1. The Queen holds a large amount of property in her capacity as Sovereign, for example her Royal Palaces. As she is exempt from selling these or otherwise converting them into private wealth, they are exempt from Inheritance Tax, which you might think is fair enough. It is, after all, property which belongs to us as a nation.

      A special deal struck with the government means any assets left by a UK Monarch to their immediate successor will be free from Inheritance Tax, although gifts left to other children or relatives will be taxed in the usual way.

      The rationale behind this is that the Monarch is not able to work or trade and therefore is not able to “grow” their estate in the conventional ways many of us do throughout our lifetimes.

      This special arrangement, rather controversially, was also held to apply to the late Queen Mother’s estate who was of course not actually the Sovereign.

      The Queen and late Queen Mother are two of the most popular members of British Royalty in history, both at home and abroad.

      Compare and contrast with heads of state elsewhere.

      High time we had another Royal Yacht to promote this country and all its interests worldwide.

  3. Not just a review and reform of taxation but of governance too, surely?

    Integrity, transparency etc. .... what chance that politicians and their corporate donors would wish to progress this into robust legislation?

    I thought I'd heard or read something about the Brexit ambition of London to become financial centre for such [tax haven] practice? Deregulation will allow such ambition to thrive?

  4. People seem to overlook the role of the tax consultants from the Big Four. They get pulled in to advise the government on how to draft tax regulations - and no doubt get well rewarded for doing so. Then they swan off and advise their wealthiest clients on how best to circumvent the very laws they've created. Talk about cosy! Owen Jones skewers them very effectively in The Establishment - well worth reading.

  5. The reports I saw seemed to imply that Prince Charles lobbied after he had been encouraged to do so by van Cutsem. Whilst the reports concentrated on the profits made by Prince Charles they didn’t comment on who else might have been associated with the same fund and how much they had invested?


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