Highland

Pippa Middleton’s family owns Highland estate via offshore tax shelters

The millionaire family of Kate Middleton’s sister owns the 10,000-acre Glen Affric estate in the Highlands via a series of companies registered in offshore tax havens, The Ferret can reveal.

Scotland's Secret Owners property scottish tax havens

David Matthews, Pippa Middleton Matthews’ father-in-law and former racing driver, reportedly became the Laird of Glen Affric when he bought the estate for £7m in 2008.

There is no suggestion Matthews or companies associated with him have broken tax laws, but tax campaigners warn that entities registered in tax havens contribute to global tax loss and poor financial transparency.

His son James, also a former racing driver and hedge fund manager, married Middleton, the sister of the Princess of Wales, in 2017, and will inherit his father’s estate and title.

The estate is owned by Beaufort Entreprise SA – a company registered in the tax haven of the Seychelles.

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard deemed it “an absolute scandal that so much Scottish land and property ownership can be traced to opaque offshore tax havens”.

He added: “The pressing need for further land reform to ensure that land-based power is transferred to the communities that live and work sustainably on our land has never been more urgent.”

It is an absolute scandal that so much Scottish land and property ownership can be traced to opaque offshore tax havens.

Tommy Sheppard, SNP MP

Beaufort was required to reveal its beneficial owners in light of the introduction of the Register of Overseas Entities (ROE), which aims to provide greater land ownership transparency. A wealth management firm, Equiom (Isle Of Man) Limited, was named as the beneficiary.

However, Matthews’ ownership of the estate, which also acts as a luxury hotel, has been widely reported.

Media reports have claimed it costs anywhere between £11,880 to £25,000 for a party to stay at the lodge, and take part in deer stalking, partridge shooting, and a range of other outdoor activities. The estate’s website advertises accommodation, but does not publicly state the fee.

Beaufort owns a property called the North Steading at Athnamulloch in Glen Affric separately, according to the ROE. However, the property entry lists Beaufort Entreprise SA as being registered in Monaco – a tax haven for the super rich. David Matthews has reportedly been a Monaco resident.

Equiom also owns a retail unit on Glasgow’s Ingram Street, the Corseyard Tower – better known as the Coo Palace – at Borge, near Kirkcudbright in Galloway, and land at Tigh Mor in the Trossachs national park.

The Ferret attempted to contact James and David Matthews via Glen Affric estate and their Eden Group company, but did not receive a response.

Main image credit: Credit: Mike Pennington/Brian Bollen

Scotland’s secret owners is a Ferret investigation exclusively produced in partnership with The Herald. The Ferret is a media-coop, which works with its members to produce investigations in the public interest. Sign up to our newsletter to find out more or become a member at theferret.scot/subscribe

1 comment
  1. It is all very well complaining about estates, land beining held by offshore companies, if the owners were not treated like baron robbers they probably would not go this rought
    Think of the money that is spent by these
    Estates in local shops, the wages that people earn & spend in the local community
    Think yourselves lucky that they are not left to rot & fall down & then be a burden on the local authorities

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