Apple, The Queen, and Lewis Hamilton are among the names in the so-called “paradise papers.” The leak reveals that some of the world’s biggest businesses, heads of state, and figures in entertainment, politics, and sport have hidden their wealth in secret tax havens.
As many as 13.4 million files, containing details from two offshore service providers, were revealed by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung following a hack on private law firm Appleby. This includes the revelation that the Queen’s private estate invested £10 million in private offshore estate.
It was also revealed that Apple was actively shopping around for a tax haven, including sending out 14 questions for any potential firm. These included questions asking whether there may be a potential law change that might affect it in the future. The company secretly moved over $250 billion (£190 million) to the Channel island of Jersey as part of its bid to avoid taxes.
Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton was also caught short by the leak. It revealed that he avoided paying taxes on his £16.5 million private jet through Appleby, which has offices on the Isle of Man.
The leaks also reveal more information regarding US President Donald Trump and the Russian Government. Many of the individuals working in his administration had illegally stored their money in offshore havens. Among them is Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross who concealed his ties to a Russian energy company partially owned by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s judo partner Gennady Timchenko and son in law Kirill Shamalov. Ross also had a stake in Navigator Holdings which held a close business relationship with the Russian firm.
Anyone putting money into tax havens for the purpose of tax avoidance should “not just apologise for it, recognise what it does to our society,” Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said.