Almost half of all retail outlets in two of the busiest shopping streets in Scotland’s largest city are owned by firms operating out of tax havens.  

A special report by The Herald and The Ferret has found that the Landlords of a large part of the once-called ‘style mile’ in the heart of Glasgow operate out of domains outside the UK’s tax jurisdiction. 

While there is no suggestion property owners with links to offshore entities are avoiding tax, concerns have been raised over a lack of transparency in their financial dealings.  

The figures have come to light through extensive research on the ownership of Scotland’s city centres, detailed today in the first part of our Who Owns Scotland's Cities? series.  

The probe found that About 40 per cent of Sauchiehall and Buchanan Street, Glasgow, were owned via tax haven firms based out of countries and jurisdictions such as Luxembourg, Jersey, Guernsey, Switzerland, the Isle of Man and the US state of Delaware 

Meanwhile, the city’s St Enoch shopping centre is registered to the Jersey-based St Enoch Trustee Company Limited and was owned by US-based global investment firm Blackstone.  

Five years ago the Panama Papers financial document leak revealed it had avoided tens of millions of pounds in UK taxes on property deals in Glasgow and London. 

Blackstone said at the time that its investments were “wholly compliant with UK tax laws”. 

Just over one-in-ten shops in Buchanan Street, Glasgow, were owned by companies registered in Scotland. 

Major landlords in include subsidiaries of the Swiss holding company Arioso AG, which owns 81 properties in Princes Square shopping centre, and the Guernsey-registered HIH Invest Buchanan Street, which owns 72. 

Richard Kerley, researcher and professor of management at Queen Margaret University,  said: “On principle I do not think that tax haven ownership – which is usually a kind of ghost company – is in any way desirable.  

“We need to legislate to ensure that ownership is transparent and in the right hands.” 

Read the first installments of our special investigation: Who owns Scotland's cities, high streets and urban centres? and Tax havens and Scottish shopping centres.