Leaked papers revealing investments in tax havens by the world's wealthy suggest the private estate of Queen Elizabeth II invested in offshore funds and U2 frontman Bono used a company based in low-tax Malta to buy part of a shopping mall in Lithuania.
The Queen's private estate has been revealed to have invested millions of pounds in BrightHouse the retail chain criticised for exploiting financially vulnerable people, alongside the collapsed off-license retailer Threshers.
A spokesman for the estate said: "We operate a number of investments and a few of these are with overseas funds". While there is nothing unlawful about holding money offshore, in many cases the disclosures may be embarrassing. "All of our investments are fully audited and legitimate", the Duchy of Lancaster said in a statement.
In addition, it is noted that in these investments, there is nothing illegal, as there is no evidence that the Queen does not pay taxes.
The leak, dubbed the Paradise Papers, contains over 13million documents - mostly from one leading firm in offshore finance.
In October 2017, the company - the UK's biggest "rent-to-own" retailer - was slapped with a US$20 million fine for not acting as a "responsible lender".
In the most recent fiscal year, the Duchy generated £19.2 million ($25 million) in net income according to its website.
Opposition Labor MP Margaret Hodge, the former chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, said she was "pretty furious" with the Queen's investment advisers for endangering her reputation. A spokesperson for the Duchy of Lancaster also noted that the Queen voluntarily pays tax on the income she receives from the duchy.
Documents show that in 2005, the Duchy committed to an investment of 7.5 million pounds ($12.7 million Cdn in today's dollars) in the Dover Street fund, payable over time.
Downing Street said Mrs May did not have any direct offshore investments and her assets were held in a blind trust, in line with normal practice for ministers.
The Queen was likely unaware her money had been invested offshore; as David McClure, author of Royal Legacy: How the Royal Family Have Made, Spent and Passed on Their Wealth, noted in The Guardian, "the Queen is permitted by convention only an arm's-length role in the management of the duchy".
"The Duchy has only invested in highly regarded private equity funds following a strong recommendation from our investment consultants", he said.
From at least 2004 to 2010, the duchy also invested in the Bermuda-based Jubilee Absolute Return Fund.