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  #1  
Old 01-10-2013, 06:01 PM
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Queen Fabiola Avoiding Inheritance Tax? - Jan. 2013

I don't know where to put this news. I looked the infos of to day, Quenn Fabiola is very criticed about her privat foundation. Who can explain this story?
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:12 PM
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From what I have read people look at it as tax avoidance, which it is but it is also perfectly legal. Also people made an assumption that the money she was putting into the foundation was money accumulated from her civil list allowance. She has today let it be known that the money in question comes from property she inherited from her Spanish family. I gather that the foundation will support various Catholic charities and institutions but may also be used to provide some limited financial support to her Spanish nieces and nephews with certain restrictions in order to qualify for assistance.
The foundation does not benefit from any of her Belgian fortune or civil list and apparently does not deal with her private jewel collection.
It seems in this economic era people, including the Belgian PM, were quick to criticize her without knowing all of the facts of the matter.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:15 PM
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As far as I have understood, last September Her Majesty has established a private foundation, called "Fons Pereos", whose aims are to provide financial support to her nephews and nieces and to support Catholic charities.
The troubles started when some press has claimed that the foundation is in reality a strategem to enable the Queen to settle her inheritance problems, avoiding her successors (her nephews and nieces) to avoid the payment of succession taxes (about 70% of her assets).
Her nephews and nieces would get financiary support from the foundation only for limited periods of time and if they were facing serious physical, material, psychological or moral difficulties.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:06 PM
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Queen Fabiola denies that she is sheltering money:

Quote:
The Dowager Queen Fabiola has denied that she set up a financial construction to shelter monies that she received from the public purse from inheritance tax. The late King Boudewijn's wife says that only private means ended up with her foundation.
In a statement released by her lawyers through the Belgian press agency Belga the dowager queen says that her paternal ancestors lived in France for many years and held French nationality. They left furniture and paintings to her and her brother and these she has carefully kept to this day. The furniture and the paintings were donated while the owners were still alive during the two world wars.

"I have kept these goods to this day to fund my foundation. The money raised by the sale of these goods goes to the foundation as I have no children."
Read more here.

----------

The palace also reacted and released a statement that they were not awareof the existence of this fund.

http://www.hln.be/hln/nl/947/Royalty...kvoetbal.dhtml

-----------------

Prime minister Elio Di Rupo reacted about the matter in parlament. He wants to hurry the reform of the dotation. He says that the national audit office will check how the royalfamily spends their dotation:

http://www.gva.be/nieuws/binnenland/...-hervormd.aspx
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:11 PM
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[QUOTE=Marengo;1503800]Queen Fabiola denies that she is sheltering money

The palace also reacted and released a statement that they were not awareof the existence of this fund.}


This seems to be part of the problem, she kept this secret.
I am from Belgium : we feel that even if legal, it is chocking. We feel that the money should go to charity associations. The so called "Queen Fabiola Village" to which she is a patron, claimed today they are missing money to fulfil their objectives. We feel that has links with the economic crisis in Spain which has effects on her Spanish family....
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:26 PM
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I agree, seems like the fact the King/his advisors were unaware makes it look more like she was trying to hide something, which I am sure is not the case. Just makes it look worse.
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:33 PM
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If the funds come from her own family and not from either the late King or from her Belgian state income why should she not have the right to do with it as she pleases. In fact why should she not have the right to return the money back to where it originated.....her own family.
From what I understand the money in the foundation will in fact support some of her charities and there are restrictions on how her relatives may benefit from the funds.
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by NGalitzine View Post
If the funds come from her own family and not from either the late King or from her Belgian state income why should she not have the right to do with it as she pleases. In fact why should she not have the right to return the money back to where it originated.....her own family.
From what I understand the money in the foundation will in fact support some of her charities and there are restrictions on how her relatives may benefit from the funds.
Of course the money can go to her family in the large sens. But the King and his family (the family mainly related to the origin of the funds) were not informed, said an official statement ...
In addition she is organizing tax evasion, since having no direct heir, applicable taxes are very high. I know that other people are using this option of a foundation, but the clauses about possible beneficiaries are so chockingly restrictive, everything being connected with religion. I feel that above all she should have taken into consideration the fact that the royal family is already under heavy pressure, eg due to recent book lacking any objectivity about Prince Philippe. To me she took an irresponsible attitude, biased towards her Spanish family.
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:10 PM
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[QUOTE=Anne2;1504373]Of course the money can go to her family in the large sens. But the King and his family (the family mainly related to the origin of the funds) were not informed, said an official statement ...
QUOTE]
Except that The King and his family were not the origin of these funds. The origin of these funds were Fabiola's own Spanish/French family. The funds come from property/art work that Fabiola was left by a French branch of her fathers family not from Belgium in any way. Fabiola was quite clear in her own statement that none of the funds come either from the late king or from her Belgian state income. So in essence she is returning to her own family assets which came from them and has placed restrictions on how those family members can gain access to the foundation which will also benefit some of her Catholic charities.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NGalitzine View Post
If the funds come from her own family and not from either the late King or from her Belgian state income why should she not have the right to do with it as she pleases. In fact why should she not have the right to return the money back to where it originated.....her own family.
From what I understand the money in the foundation will in fact support some of her charities and there are restrictions on how her relatives may benefit from the funds.
I agree totally, NGalitzine. Jeez, it's a sad day when you can't dispose of, try to do good deeds, with your own property / private funds as you wish, without getting hauled over the coals for it. Poor, Fabiola. !
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:46 PM
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It's regarded as 'not a good example' (similar to when princess Christina of the NL put her money on a bank in the channel islands, or something to that extent).
It's not so much that it's illegal, but the royal family is expected to set a good example, and the politic parties are not convinced that the money she receives from the government is left out of it completely.
Also eyebrows are raised because the money will only go to nieces/nephews from a good catholic background.

Anyway, it has been decided that the 1.5 million euro that Queen Fabiola receives from the government will be reduced to 1 million euro (per year)
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Old 01-12-2013, 03:34 PM
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I don't know why people would be surprised that Fabiola would put "Catholic" restrictions on those members of her family who might benefit from the foundation. It is almost universally know that Baudouin and Fabiola shared very traditional Catholic beliefs.
I wonder if Belgians will take a closer look at how the widows of Belgian cabinet ministers and prime ministers, or even the ministers themselves, deal with their state pensions and organize their personal estates. I am surethey , like every other right thinking persion, have organized their affairs in such away as to legally avoid as much taxation as possible.
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Old 01-12-2013, 04:50 PM
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She can leave her money to who-ever she wants, that is not the issue... but there have been questions raised over the amount of money that the royals get and whether that can be reduced for several years now (everybody has to take a pay-cut these days, so why not the royals), the belgian royal family has agreed to cooperate in this reform, so even though this move from QF is not much different from what King Boudewijn did 20-odd years ago, the financial climate and the way people think of the royal family are now different than 20 years ago...
So that's why her dotation is lowered and she will have to start living on only 1 million euro a year, the same amount that the crownprince receives..
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Old 01-12-2013, 05:23 PM
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In comparison to royal families, companies likes starbucks, google, amazon are not doing anything illegal by not paying taxes in many countries but is it right or is it good PR? These things are being rethought and perhaps laws will be changed.

I do not think you can compare politicians and royals, the first group are there by merit and the second by hereditary principle. Like everyone royals can benefit from good taxadvice but there is a fine line that when crossed makes them appear greedy at the cost of the country to whom they owe everything. It is unpatriotic.

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Originally Posted by NGalitzine View Post
I don't know why people would be surprised that Fabiola would put "Catholic" restrictions on those members of her family who might benefit from the foundation. It is almost universally know that Baudouin and Fabiola shared very traditional Catholic beliefs.
Quote:
I wonder if Belgians will take a closer look at how the widows of Belgian cabinet ministers and prime ministers, or even the ministers themselves, deal with their state pensions and organize their personal estates. I am surethey , like every other right thinking persion, have organized their affairs in such away as to legally avoid as much taxation as possible
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Old 01-12-2013, 05:43 PM
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[QUOTE=NGalitzine;1504379]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anne2 View Post
Of course the money can go to her family in the large sens. But the King and his family (the family mainly related to the origin of the funds) were not informed, said an official statement ...
QUOTE]
Except that The King and his family were not the origin of these funds. The origin of these funds were Fabiola's own Spanish/French family. The funds come from property/art work that Fabiola was left by a French branch of her fathers family not from Belgium in any way. Fabiola was quite clear in her own statement that none of the funds come either from the late king or from her Belgian state income. So in essence she is returning to her own family assets which came from them and has placed restrictions on how those family members can gain access to the foundation which will also benefit some of her Catholic charities.
Probably nobody has sufficient elements to analyse the origins of the funds in a proper way, however it appears highly questionable the milllions of euro at stake could come from her own family, where more or less everyone had a large family and assets had to be shared between several heirs. Even if it was stated so by her lawyer, not by herself, Belgian citizens have no faith in that statement. He could have provided some evidence.., but he has of couse no obligation to do so.

The Prime Minister seems motivated to amend the funding system to the royal family. She gets currently more for herself than the crownprince for a family of six people. One thing is sure the royal family is now a step further down in popularity. However probably still better the one of the Spanish royal family after the latest developments.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:20 PM
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It all seems very petty and mean spirited for a bunch of politicians (who couldn't even agree to put a government together for over a year) and journalists (who have an equally politicial agenda) to attack an elderly lady in declining health who has devoted most of her adult life to serving Belgium, the church and charity.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NGalitzine View Post
It all seems very petty and mean spirited for a bunch of politicians (who couldn't even agree to put a government together for over a year) and journalists (who have an equally politicial agenda) to attack an elderly lady in declining health who has devoted most of her adult life to serving Belgium, the church and charity.
You don't think 1 million euro a year for royal representation is not enough for someone who doesn't perform official royal reprentations anymore?
No-one is saying that she has to be cut-off... this just is 'the last drop' in a situation where probably a lot of people feel that the royal family's dotations should have been re-evaluated a long time ago (and blame the politicians for not cutting royal budgets a lot sooner)

I can't say it any better than Anne2 has (who is belgian after all)...
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:03 PM
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I wasn't referring to the reduction in her dotation. I was referring to the attack on her foundation and its funding from her private family resources with assets settled on her by the French branch of her paternal family decades ago.
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:15 PM
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what's the saying, You should let sleeping dogs lie..?
She awoke the sleeping dogs with that move and now all parties are calling for transparency and reform of the royals, some even so far as to want to change the role of the royals to 'ceremonial-only'...

Bad timing...
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NGalitzine View Post
I wasn't referring to the reduction in her dotation. I was referring to the attack on her foundation and its funding from her private family resources with assets settled on her by the French branch of her paternal family decades ago.
Discussions continued over the weekend and in the press, the conclusions were quite near to the comments here. Sorry for the duplication of the message!
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