THE leaked Paradise Papers are another financial expose of offshore banking and tax avoidance; the resulting investigation netting a series of high-profile names, including the Queen’s private estate.
Celebrities, politicians, entrepreneurs and multinationals – many household names – have been revealed with more to follow; showing how complex structures are legally used to protect earnings from the taxman.
The name Paradise Papers was chosen to reflect the idyllic profiles of some offshore jurisdictions, including Bermuda where the main company involved, Appleby, is based.
The label also fits rather nicely with ‘paradis fiscal’; the French term for a tax haven and like the Panama Papers leak, millions of documents were obtained by a German newspaper and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
The papers throws light on a global industry, the legal and accountancy firms, financial institutions and jurisdictions that adopt a beneficial tax regime that attracts money.
Headlines so far have included: the Queen’s private estate investing around £10 million abroad; Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton an tax savings on a $16.5 million luxury jet; a Lithuanian shopping mall partly owned by U2 singer Bono; and Apple using Jersey to protect its low-tax regime.
Leaked data covers the years 1950 to 2016 and there are about 13.4 million documents contained within 1,400GB of data. Some 6.8 million papers come from Appleby, an offshore legal service provider, one of the largest and best known of 10 major companies in the specialised field.
It is understood the United States dominates the client register, with some 31,000 addresses; there are more than 14,000 UK addresses.