The “Paradise Papers,” a leak of financial documents from a Bermuda-based law firm called Appleby, shed light on the use of offshores by some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful people. This is the world’s second biggest leak of such documents, topped only by lasts year’s “Panama Papers.” The 13.4M files were obtained by a German newspaper and reviewed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) before being made public.
Some highlights of the leak include:
- Queen Elizabeth II’s estate invested millions in a Cayman Islands fund, and that money was invested in Brighthouse, a British retailer that has settled cases over exploitation of vulnerable customers via rent-to-own agreements.
- Wilbur Ross, the United States Secretary of Commerce, is doing business with Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law via a shipping venture in Russia.
- Gary Cohn, Trump’s chief economic advisor, from 2002 to 2006 was the President or Vice of 22 separate Bermuda-based entities.
- Russian funds invested millions into Twitter and Facebook through the use of shell companies.
- Bono, of U2 fame, used a Maltese shell company to make investments in a Lithuanian shopping mall.
- Aggressive tax avoidance strategies by Nike and Apple.
Many more celebrities and government officials are also involved in the leak, and the revelations will undoubtedly lead to further investigations into tax avoidance and corruption.
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