Paradise Papers Reveal Hidden Wealth Of The Global Elite
After the controversial Panama Papers last year, which exposed over 11.5 million leaked documents detailing information of more than 214,488 offshore entities of numerous global elites, the same publishers have released another database to bare more off-shore tax havens.
The U.S.-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released this week ‘The Paradise Papers’ which is a global investigation that contains over 13.4 million leaked documents of off-shore activities by the world’s most powerful individuals and companies. The primary files that compose the Paradise Papers were obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and were then studied by ICIJ and 95 media partners.
Some of the biggest exposes of the Paradise Papers include offshore interests and activities of Queen Elizabeth II, allies and Cabinet members of U.S. President Donald Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and nefarious tax planning of various multinational companies including Apple, Nike and Uber.
The papers also expose nearly 7 million loan agreements, emails, trust deeds, financial statements, and various other paperwork spanning from the Appleby Group Services Ltd. The company is Bermuda-based law firm which was named as the 2015 off-shore firm of the year by Legal 500 UK in 2015. Some of the law firms corporate clients include global banks such as Goldman Sachs, HSBC Bank, Barclays Group, Credit Suisse, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase and Lloyds Banking Group.
According to the summary published by ICIJ, Queen Elizabeth II’s private estate invested indirectly in a Cayman Islands fund, which then invested in another private equity company operated by BrightHouse. BrightHouse has been under fire from UK consumers, market watchdogs and MPs who accused the firm of selling household goods at inflated interest rates of as high as 99.9 percent.
In a statement, John McDonnell, a politician in the UK said
I think we need now a full public inquiry because we’ve heard from the government time and time again that they’re tackling this issue, we now know they’re not tackling it effectively. What we need is a public inquiry on tax avoidance overall. We also need full publication of registers of beneficiaries of these trusts
Apart from off-shore interests of the Queen’s private estate, another huge name caught up in the Paradise Papers is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. After the leak, Canadian tax authorities have started to review reports that link a key fundraiser for the Prime Minister to offshore trusts in the Caribbean.
A number of advisors and donors to President Donald Trump also featured in the Paradise Papers. Some of the names included Sheldon Adelson, Rex Tillerson, Geoffrey Palmer, Randal Quarles, Paul Singer and Steve Wynn. The Paradise Papers have leaked the names of over 120 politicians and world leaders and have raised questions about their off-shore investments and undisclosed wealth.
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