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Prince Charles under fire for ‘conflict of interest’ in friend’s offshore firm

The Prince of Wales has become the latest senior figure to be named in the Paradise Papers after it was revealed that he lobbied on climate policy – an issue he stood to profit on from investments.

As uncovered by the BBC, the Guardian and others, The leaked documents show that the Prince’s private estate, Duchy of Cornwall, secretly bought shares worth $113,500 in an offshore company in Bermuda.

This company would have benefitted from a change in the rules that Prince Charles was advocating. Hence it is alleged that there has been a conflict of interest.

The Duchy of Cornwall has said that the heir to the throne has no direct involvement in investments.

A Clarence House spokesperson said: “The prince has never chosen to speak out on a topic simply because of a company that the duchy 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 more than 30 years. 

“Throughout this period, he has highlighted many different ways in which it might be possible to slow or halt the damage that is being done. Carbon markets are just one example that the prince has championed since the 1990s and which he continues to promote today, including in his most recent book published earlier this year.

“The Duchy of Cornwall’s accounts are independently audited and presented to parliament every year. The Prince of Wales does not have any direct involvement in the investment decisions taken by the duchy. These are the responsibility of the duchy’s finance and audit committee.”

There is no suggestion of illegality by the Prince of Wales, and there is no suggestion that he has attempted to avoid paying tax.

The Duchy of Cornwall is a private estate owned by the Duke of Cornwall (Prince Charles). The Duchy owns 53,000 hectares of land in 23 counties, and has assets of £913m.

The Queen is also implicated in the leak of these financial documents. Last week it was revealed that £10m of The Queen’s private money has been invested in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda by the Duchy of Lancaster.

The Duchy provides Her Majesty with an income and manages her £500m estate.

There is no suggestion of illegality by The Queen although this is hugely damaging to the Monarchy.

The leak shows that investments had been made through the Duchy to businesses including BrightHouse, which has been criticised in the past for exploiting poor and vulnerable people.

The Duchy said that it was unaware of their 12-year investment in BrightHouse until approached in relation to the Paradise Papers for comment.

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