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Dalai Lama Being Investigated for Possible Tax Fraud

by Indy Hack

Much is made of the Dalai Lama’s noble claim to travel the world teaching Buddhism for free. Each overseas event states explicitly that the Dalai Lama never charges a fee or receives any money, yet the ticket prices don’t match that noble sentiment.

One such event took place in a small town in the UK in 2015. The Dalai Lama visited a Buddhist Community Centre in Aldershot and gave a talk at the local soccer ground with tickets ranging in price from £20-£50, which is quite cheap compared to his US prices. The event was organised by a UK charity, Buddhist Community Centre UK (BCCUK) who claimed they would be, “charging a minimum entrance fee in order to cover the costs of venue and necessary administrations. Any surplus funds raised from the event will be donated to charities.”

 

Following the event BCCUK made two payments to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Charitable Trust in India totaling approximately £50,000.As explained in a previous article, according to trustees of this fund the Dalai Lama uses it as a mechanism to make sure that he is “paid his share of the profits” from overseas events whilst avoiding any tax on them.According to BCCUK’s filings they made donations of £11,149 and £46,365. The filings don’t explain where these donations went and these are the only sums the charity has ever paid out as donations in its entire filing history.

Trustees of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Charitable Trust confirmed that around the same time they received donations from BCCUK. Although they didn’t receive those exact amounts they did receive approximately £50,000 in total from them.

One trustee who spoke on condition of anonymity explained that the Dalai Lama treats this Trust as “his personal bank account”. It is used to transfer profits from events such as the Dalai Lama’s talk in Aldershot back to India where he can spend them tax-free.

 

Had BCCUK been aware of this they would have been required to deduct at least £10,000 from this amount and pay it to the UK tax authorities on behalf of the Dalai Lama.

 

This matter along with all relevant documentation has now been referred to Her Majaesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the UK tax authority, to assist with their investigation into the Dalai Lama’s possible tax fraud.

HMRC whilst being unable to comment on the specifics of any particular case have confirmed that they are currently looking into a report of tax evasion by the Dalai Lama.

About the author

Artvoice

Artvoice

News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.

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