Prince Harry and Meghan have set up 11 companies in a tax haven

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

The firms are based in the US state of Delaware and appear to have sentimental names, including one for Princess Diana

Prince Harry and Meghan have set up 11 companies in a tax haven
FILE - Meghan Markle and Prince Harry pose for pictures after visiting the observatory in One World Trade in New York, Sept. 23, 2021. The Duchess of Sussex will receive a nominal £1 payment for invasion of privacy plus undisclosed damages for copyright infringement under an agreement that ends her long-running dispute with Britain's Mail on Sunday over the tabloid's publication of a letter she wrote to her father. The terms were reported on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, 10 days after Associated Newspapers Ltd., publisher of the Mail on Sunday, decided to forego further appeals and published a statement acknowledging that the U.S.-born duchess, formerly known as Meghan Markle, had won her lawsuit.(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
The couple have set up a complex network of businesses in the US CREDIT: AP

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have set up a network of 11 companies in the tax haven state of Delaware, as they look to expand their lucrative business interests in the United States.

The companies were incorporated by the Duchess’s long-time attorney Richard Genow and her business manager Andrew Meyer, and appear to have names with sentimental value to the California-based couple.

Among the listings are two publishing firms – Peca Publishing LLC and Orinoco Publishing LLC.

Peca, which was used to hold the rights to the Duchess’s children’s book ‘The Bench,’ means ‘freckle’ in Spanish, and could allude to the first book she wrote as a child, called ‘A face without freckles is a night without stars.’

Orinoco Publishing LLC is expected to hold the rights to the Duke’s much anticipated memoir, due out later this year. The Telegraph understands that rather than being named after the river that runs through Colombia and Venezuela, it is actually a reference to one of Princess Diana’s favourite songs – Orinoco Flow, by Irish singer Enya.

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In a 2017 ITV tribute to the Princess of Wales, the Duke recalled his mother listening to Enya while driving in her BMW with the roof down.

Hampshire LLC could allude to the place in the UK where they had a three-night stay in the final weeks of the Duchess’s first pregnancy in Spring 2019 and Baobab Holdings LLC may be named after the Baobab tree which is native to Africa and Australia – places the Duke enjoyed spending time on his gap year and in later life.

Experts say there are several benefits in incorporating a company in Delaware, including the state’s flexible business laws and its low personal income tax rates.  

The state, in the northeast of America, is known for being home to more corporations than people, with almost 65 per cent of Fortune 500 companies incorporated there.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, arrive at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for the Salute to Freedom Gala Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, in New York. The Duke of Sussex will also present the inaugural Intrepid Valor Award to five service members, veterans and their military families. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
The Sussexes are looking to expand their business reach in America CREDIT: AP

While a company’s officers and directors must be disclosed, the actual owner is not required to identify themselves.

Delaware doesn’t impose income tax on corporations registered in the state which don’t do business in the state. Also, shareholders who don’t reside in Delaware need not pay tax on shares in the state. This is why it has been referred to as a domestic tax haven.

It is not thought that the Duke or Duchess have ever actually visited Delaware, where US President Joe Biden was a senator from 1973 to 2009.

The Sussex’s main business is conducted under the umbrella of their charitable organisation, Archewell, which has its headquarters in Beverly Hills.

The name, they say, is from the Ancient Greek word “Arche” – which means “source of action” and the English word “well” – which they define as “a plentiful source or supply; a place we go to dig deep.”

The Archewell foundation raised less than US$50,000 (£36,947) in 2020, tax return filings revealed.

Archewell Audio LLC and Archewell Productions LLC have been used to facilitate the Sussexes’ high profile entertainment deals with Netflix and Spotify.

However, the £18 million deal with Spotify has reportedly left executives at the streaming giant scratching their heads because in two years the couple has released just one full length podcast.

A statement from the company in 2020 said: “In 2021, The Duke and Duchess will produce and host podcasts that build community through shared experiences and values. The first complete series from Archewell Audio and Spotify is expected next year and will be available to stream for free on Spotify.”

The Duke and Duchess did not release a single minute of content on the platform in the whole year.

Other companies incorporated in Delaware, which were first reported by Mail Online, include Cobblestone Lane LLC, which was used on the application for the Archewell trademark.

Cobblestone Lane is also the name of an eye shadow palette made by Bobbi Brown. In 2016, the Duchess joined the makeup mogul in the back of a taxi for an ‘on the go’ retouching campaign.

The latest moves follow recent form for the Duke and Duchess. Two years ago, The Telegraph revealed that the Duchess’s company Frim Fram Inc was moved out of California and incorporated in Delaware .

Alan Stachura, from financial services firm Wolters Kluwer said at the time: “Typically the expectation would be that taxes would be higher in California than Delaware.”

Mr Stachura, who helps companies incorporate in Delaware, added that the state offers “a tax benefit for items like trademarks and royalties”.

Other companies the couple have incorporated include Bridgemount LLC, RPV Holdings LLC and IPHW LLC.

Nemawashi Holdings LLC was set up in September 2020 and described only as a “holding company”. Nemawashi is a Japanese term meaning the informal process of quietly laying the foundation for a project.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment.

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