Luxury firm helps celebrities go offshore
"A luxury lifestyle company founded by the Duchess of Cornwall's nephew, Ben Elliot, is under fire for offering to help Britain's richest individuals avoid tax by shifting their affairs to the offshore haven of the British Virgin Islands. . . . Elliot, a friend of Prince William, has close links to the royal family – the Duchess of Cornwall visited Quintessentially's club in Soho after it opened last year.As Elliot said:
"If people want to set up companies in the British Virgin Islands, we can assist there," said Elliot, who described offshore arrangements as "a sensible way to look after your assets". Elliot brushed aside questions about tax avoidance, describing offshoring assets as something that has "happened since the beginning of time".
So that's alright then. This justification from Quintessentially, which promises "uncorrupted beauty in the British Virgin Islands" (!) is almost as lame a justification as was given by a spokesman for a Dutch royal, who said her tax avoidance was justified because she had an eye problem. We, of course, take a different view. As The Observer quotes us:
The firm's BVI plan was criticised by John Christensen, director of the Tax Justice Network, who said: "It's just become the norm that wealthy people don't see themselves as part of society and aren't prepared to contribute like the rest of society in paying tax."Indeed.