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A billion US dollars poured into Royal Dutch Shell

One of the two funds poured a billion US dollars into Royal Dutch Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil and gas company. The Shell Technology Ventures Fund then invested in ‘production and exploration’ technologies, such as innovative oil rigs. The universities have faced protests from staff and students over their investments in fossil fuels in recent years.

Oxford and Cambridge Universities have made secret investments into offshore funds, it was revealed last night.

The university bodies, as well as 29 Oxbridge colleges, have together paid tens of millions to firms based in tax havens including the Cayman Islands.

One fund was a joint venture to develop oil exploration and deep-sea drilling, according to the Paradise Papers.

In 2006, Oxford invested £2.6million in two funds with Guernsey-based private equity firm Coller International. Cambridge invested £1.3million in the same firm. One of the two funds poured a billion US dollars into Royal Dutch Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil and gas company.

The Shell Technology Ventures Fund then invested in ‘production and exploration’ technologies, such as innovative oil rigs.

The universities have faced protests from staff and students over their investments in fossil fuels in recent years. Prem Sikka, an emeritus professor in accounting at the University of Essex, questioned the ethics of the universities investing offshore, as they are public institutions that receive public money.

He told The Guardian: ‘We need to know what they are doing with the cash. There are issues of corporate social responsibility.’

The leaked papers show both universities had investments with ‘blocker’ corporations which can be used to avoid a US tax on hedge fund investments, allowing them to receive dividends tax-free.

Cambridge said its funds were managed by ‘a highly reputable adviser’ and said the university and colleges were charities, adding: ‘This means there is normally no tax to pay.’

On fossil fuels, it said its council had set up a divestment working group in May 2016. Oxford said offshore investments were commonly used by educational bodies and there was ‘robust oversight’ of its holdings.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5064329/Oxbridge-secretly-millions-tax-havens.html#ixzz4xvDno5eD
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