Legal no-mans-land of Prince Charles Saxe-Gotha of Cornwall
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Sun Jun 16 14:52:07 BST 2013
Prince Charles's farm accused of eco-vandalism
The Duchy of Cornwall: A medieval institution resistant to transparency
Prince Charles to retain his right of veto
Revealed: Prince Charles's secret property deals
- including £38 million industrial carbuncle
Exclusive: Duchy estate bought Milton Keynes
supermarket depot despite his famously forthright
views on preserving traditional architecture and countryside
Cahal Milmo - Friday 14 June 2013
Prince Charles, renowned for his aversion to
monstrous carbuncle buildings, has spent £38m
on an industrial depot in Milton Keynes as part
of a £102m series of confidential property deals,
The Independent can reveal. The purchase of the
vast supermarket warehouse through his estate
one of the single largest acquisitions by the
Duchy of Cornwall in its 670-year history
was completed 18 months ago but has been kept from being made public.
A recent judicial ruling declared the Duchy to be
a public body potentially liable to freedom of information rules.
But Clarence House has repeatedly refused to
disclose any details of the expensive acquisition
due to what the Princes officials said was the Duchys private status.
The Prince bought the sprawling grey warehouse
complex in Milton Keynes from an Anglo-Indian
property fund, The Independent has established.
His tenants are Waitrose, who are using the depot
as a lorry distribution hub. The deal offers a
glimpse into the hard-nosed business ethos of the
Duchy, established in the 14th century to provide
an income for the Prince of Wales and his heirs,
as well as the multiple layers of confidentiality
and opaque procedure that govern the Princes commercial dealings.
Under an arrangement which is now being
scrutinised by MPs, the Duchy is exempt from
capital gains and corporation tax, saving it
millions of pounds a year. Charles voluntarily pays income tax.
An investigation by The Independent has revealed
that the Duchy, which is one of Britains largest
private estates and owns more than 50,000
hectares of land, conducted property transactions
worth at least £102m between 2009 and last December.
Any sale or purchase by the Prince worth more
than £500,000 must be approved by the Treasury.
The Duchys holdings of land and property form
the bulk of its assets, worth £693m, and stretch
across 23 counties, including most of the Scilly
Isles, Dartmoor Prison, the Oval cricket ground
in central London, a Holiday Inn in Reading and
the Princes private homes such as Highgrove. To
this extensive list has now been added property
title BM191066, otherwise known as the Waitrose
distribution centre in Brinklow, Milton Keynes,
whose new owners are listed by the Land Registry
as His Royal Highness Charles Philip Arthur
George, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall and
Rothesay, Earl of Chester and Carrick, Baron of
Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Great Steward of
Scotland, and the Duchy. The sale price was £38,385,500.
Like all other significant Duchy transactions,
the deal in November 2011 with Indian property
fund Meghraj Properties had to be approved by the
Lord Commissioners of the Treasury, an ancient post held by Government whips.
The depot, built in 1993 to withstand 20 million
lorry journeys over its lifetime, sits awkwardly
with the heir to the thrones well-publicised
love of traditional architecture along with his
emphasis on rural life and environmental sustainability.
The purchase of the 396,000 sq ft warehouse is
not the first link between Charles and the John
Lewis Partnership supermarket. A previous deal
between the Duchy and Waitrose in 2009 saw it
take over the once-troubled Duchy Originals
organic food brand, which now generates more than
£1m a year for the princes 'charities'.
When The Independent yesterday approached
Clarence House with evidence of the warehouse
purchase, it insisted there was no connection
with the Duchy Originals tie-up, adding it was a
coincidence that Waitrose was the tenant of the industrial complex.
The revelations come at an uncomfortable time for
the Duchy, which is facing a private members
bill in the House of Lords demanding that its
structure be radically overhauled and its surplus
income £18.3m last year be distributed to
Cornwall rather than to the heir to throne. The
bills sponsor, Labour peer Lord Berkeley, says
the Duchy is a feudal anachronism.
The day-to-day management of the Duchy, including
investment decisions on commercial property such
as the Waitrose warehouse purchase, is carried
out by a professional managerial team. But it is
widely known that Prince Charles takes a close
personal interest in the running of the estate.
In many ways, the estate, which transfers its
handsome surplus every year to the heir to the
throne to form the bulk of his income, is a
paragon of success. Despite the global downturn,
the Prince has defied the prevailing economic
winds to grow the Duchys income every year since
at least 2008 to £26.5m last year. His estates
total value has risen by 15 per cent to £764m.
Charles voluntarily pays income tax on the income
he receives from the Duchy (last year he paid
£4.5m to the tax man from incoming funds of
£18.3m). He uses the money to fund himself and
the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of
Cambridge, Prince Harry, a sizeable staff and his charitable activities.
But while the Duchy has been slickly managed, a
growing number of critics say it has existed for
too long in a constitutional no-mans land where
it discharges the duties of a public body, for
example running the harbour authority on the
Scilly Isles, and is subject to the financial
scrutiny of Government whips, yet maintains it is
a private estate. One benefit of this hybrid
status is that the hereditary holding is exempt
from both corporation and capital gains tax. The
situation, which Clarence House insists is valid
because the Duchy is not a separate legal entity
for tax purposes, has led the powerful Commons
public accounts committee, which is also
investigating the tax affairs of Google and
Starbucks, to demand answers from Treasury
ministers as to whether the Princes exemptions are justified.
The Duchy is also fighting a separate attempt to
force it to be more open about its workings. The
Princes officials lost an important case before
the Information Rights Tribunal, which after a
three-year legal battle ruled that his estate was
a public authority in performing its primary
function to provide an income for the heir to the throne.
The landmark ruling could make the estate subject
to the Freedom of Information Act. The Duchy is
appealing. A spokeswoman said: We do not agree
that the Duchy performs functions of public
administration. Hence we are appealing the ruling.
Lord Berkeley, who lives in Cornwall, said there
was a conspiracy of silence surrounding the
status of the Duchy and it was time for a debate
about its future: The Duchy is a complete
anachronism. It is feudal and I suspect many of
those who work for it would say so if they felt
able. It vacillates between being a private and a
semi-public organisation according to its best
advantage and yet there is no debate about how it
should be best managed. It would seem to me that
the Duchy would be a far better situation if it
was turned into a public trust for the benefit of
the people after which it is named.
In a statement, a Duchy of Cornwall spokeswoman
said: The Duchy of Cornwall is a private estate,
not a public body and is not funded by the
taxpayer. The Prince of Wales chooses to use his
private money from the estate to pay for his
public duties, as well as those of the Duchess of
Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
He also chooses to pay income tax on the income
generated by The Duchy. The Duke of Cornwall
manages the estate for present and future Dukes,
and for the wider benefit of tenants, communities and the environment.
Royal Saxe-Coburg Gotha family's occult links:
the discredited Professor, Illuminati founder
Adam Wieshaupt, was looked after by Duke Ernest II of Saxe-Gotha (17451804)
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"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic
poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
Fear not therefore: for there is nothing covered
that shall not be revealed; and nothing hid that
shall not be made known. What I tell you in
darkness, that speak ye in the light and what ye
hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. Matthew 10:26-27
Die Pride and Envie; Flesh, take the poor's advice.
Covetousnesse be gon: Come, Truth and Love arise.
Patience take the Crown; throw Anger out of dores:
Cast out Hypocrisie and Lust, which follows whores:
Then England sit in rest; Thy sorrows will have end;
Thy Sons will live in peace, and each will be a friend.
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