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Paradise Papers: Three hearty cheers for Her Majesty
10/11/2017 , Freddie Pooter

What pleasing news that Queen Elizabeth II, a sure touchstone in these febrile days of Paradise Papers mass hysteria, is supporting her dominions so loyally.

She is the head of state of Bermuda and the Caymans and so it is entirely understandable that her personal purse, in the form of the Duchy of Lancaster which administers her £520 million estate, had invested circa £10 million in vehicles located in these two jurisdictions, thereby supporting local economies.

As the Queen is head of the Commonwealth, we think that this initiative should certainly be expanded to other member nations. Belize should be worth a few grand, along with various states such as hurricane-beset Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada and Guyana.
Elsewhere, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya and other African nations should be candidates for royal largesse.
Of course, Zimbabwe should be excluded. Still, we are told that its leader, the ageless president Mugabe, has true Yorkshire blood running in his veins – just spell his name backwards.
In Asia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Malaysia and Sri Lanka are obvious candidates, although in the case of Malaysia, Buckingham Palace should be rather careful in view of the 1MDB affair.
For don’t forget, amid the shambles of Brexit, Britain is likely to look towards its old dominions for new trade and business links, with Canada, Australia and New Zealand among the vital future partners. So the Queen’s investments arguably have true value in fostering Commonwealth links.
As for the appalling Paradise Papers, the monstrous son of the Panama Papers, rarely has much been leaked about nothing. Little fundamentally new has been disclosed, about an international network of trusts, foundations and charities which entirely legally shelters the wealth of many.

In the public mind, the real lasting damage of the disclosures may be that, tax evasion and tax avoidance could become synonymous with little regard for the reality behind the two approaches.
Tellingly, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, amid the outpouring of those 13 million or so documents, tucks away a little rider in its findings: ‘The vast majority of the transactions involve no legal wrongdoing.’ Quite.

Besides, “leaks”, in our opinion, is a euphemism - more appropriate would be stolen.

The Paradise Papers documents include nearly seven million loan agreements, financial statements, emails, trust deeds and other paperwork over nearly 50 years from inside Appleby, a prestigious offshore law firm.  

If redress was taken through the courts against the ICIJ and its media partners, we would not be a bit surprised.

In fact, the only leaks we would really like to see concern the insider financial machinations of the European Union in Brussels,  which is surely a long-running pork barrel-style scandal. The annual EU spending, which totalled EUR 136 billion last year, has not been signed off by auditors without significant qualifications for many years.

As a result, the current widespread problems of the French farmers does, we freely admit, cause a degree of delicious feeling of schadenfreude.

So bunging £60 billion plus to the sticky fingers in Brussels as the price of a Brexit deal thus seems the height of foolishness.

Pip pip!

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