Secrets of the World Elite's Hidden Wealth Revealed in Paradise Papers Leak

An offshore law firm has revealed financial dealings from some of the richest people in the world, from members of Donald Trump’s cabinet to the Queen of England. 

Some of the world’s biggest monarchs, political figures and entertainment and sport personalities, who have been hiding their wealth in small offshore tax havens, are being revealed this week in a huge new investigation. 

13.4 million files that expose the small, worldwide areas that tax dodgers can thrive, have been leaked. They also reveal the complex ways in which the world’s wealthiest people and companies can legally protect their riches. 

The documents, that came from two offshore service providers and the company registries of 19 tax havens, were obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. 

The project has been called the Paradise Papers. It reveals: 

Millions of pounds from the Queen’s private estate has been invested in a Cayman Islands fund – and some of her money went to a retailer accused of exploiting poor families and vulnerable people. 

Extensive offshore dealings by Donald Trump’s cabinet members, advisers and donors, including substantial payments from a firm co-owned by Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law, to the shipping group of the US commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross. 

How Twitter and Facebook received hundreds of millions of dollars in investments that can be traced back to Russian state financial institutions. 

The tax-avoiding Cayman Islands trust managed by the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau’s chief moneyman. 

A previously unknown $450m offshore trust that has sheltered the wealth of Lord Ashcroft. 

Lord Ashcroft hides in toilets to avoid questions on tax – video 

Aggressive tax avoidance by multinational corporations, including Nike and Apple. 

How some of the biggest names in the film and TV industries protect their wealth with an array of offshore schemes. 

The billions in tax refunds by the Isle of Man and Malta to the owners of private jets and luxury yachts. 

The secret loan and alliance used by the London-listed multinational Glencore in its efforts to secure lucrative mining rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

The complex offshore webs used by two billionaires to buy stakes in Arsenal and Everton football clubs. 

Appleby is at the heart of the leak, a law firm with outposts in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. In contrast to Mossack Fonseca, the discredited firm at the center of last year’s Panama Papers investigation, Appleby prides itself on being a leading member of the “magic circle” of top-ranking offshore service providers. 

It acted for the establishment offshore, providing the structures that helped to legally reduce their tax bills. 

Appleby says of the allegations, “there is no evidence of any wrongdoing, either on the part of ourselves or our clients”, adding: “We are a law firm which advises clients on legitimate and lawful ways to conduct their business. We do not tolerate illegal behavior.” 

These disclosures will also put pressure on world leaders, including Donald Trump and the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, who have both made pledges to combat serious tax avoidance schemes.

By Tom Day

08 November 2017 11:35