Scottish Borders Council has confirmed it paid for the Lowood Estate purchase at Tweedbank via offshore businesses based in the Cayman Islands.
A freedom of information request revealed that the local authority paid the £9.6m cost to Lowood Estates Ltd and Genesis Trust & Corporate Services Ltd, both based in the British overseas territory.
The land is earmarked for a 300-home development within walking distance of Tweedbank train station and is part of a wider Tweedbank development plan expected to create 180 permanent jobs and a similar number in the development phase.
Scottish Borders Council said that as a public authority they were required to provide the information requested and it was then made public in a way they describe as “entirely inappropriate”.
“The council believes private individuals should not be subject to this level of scrutiny regarding how they conduct their personal financial and legitimate tax affairs,” said a Scottish Borders Council spokesperson.
“We remain of the view that the robust business case on which the decision to acquire Lowood for economic development purposes was based still stands. The purchase of the site, which is now in public ownership, will provide good long term value for the taxpayer, creating jobs, new homes and delivering economic benefits.”