Paradise Papers: New offshore leaks mention Queen Elizabeth, Trump & Putin
The organisation behind the Panama Papers investigation, has published its latest series of offshore leaks. Among those mentioned are Queen Elizabeth, members of Donald Trump’s government and Vladimir Putin’s “son-in-law”.
The files dubbed the Paradise Papers reveal “offshore interests and activities of more than 120 politicians and world leaders, including Queen Elizabeth II, whose private estate indirectly invested in a rent-to-own loan company accused of predatory tactics”.
Thirteen allies, major donors and Cabinet members of US President Donald J. Trump appear in the documents, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Among these are “Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s interests in a shipping company that makes millions from an energy firm whose owners include Russian President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law and a sanctioned Russian tycoon,” the ICIJ said, promising more related stories in the coming days.
The files also include tax planning details by nearly 100 multinational corporations, including Apple, Nike and Uber.
The leaks relate to Bermuda-based offshore law firm Appleby, which admitted in recent weeks that it had been the target of a data breach.
The ICIJ said 95 media partners were involved in sifting through 13.4 million leaked files from a combination of leaked files of offshore law firms and the company registries in some of the world’s most secretive countries.
It added that the structured data connected to the investigation would be published on its Offshore Leaks Database in the coming weeks.
The files were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Appleby said in a statement on October 27 that its data had been stolen in a cyber attack last year.
It also said it had received queries from the ICIJ which arose from documents that journalists claimed to have seen and involved allegations against Appleby and the business conducted by some of its clients.
“Appleby has thoroughly and vigorously investigated the allegations and we are satisfied that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing, either on the part of ourselves or our clients.
We refute any allegations which may suggest otherwise and we would be happy to cooperate fully with any legitimate and authorised investigation of the allegations by the appropriate and relevant authorities.”
It added that it was disappointed that the media may used material obtained illegally which could result in exposing innocent parties to data protection breaches.
“Having researched the ICIJ’s allegations we believe they are unfounded and based on a lack of understanding of the legitimate and lawful structures used in the offshore sector.”
The release comes nearly 18 months after the Panama Papers revelations rocked the world with the trove of 11.5 million documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson was forced to step down after revelations relating to offshore accounts.The ICIJ say at least 150 inquiries, audits or investigations have been announced in 79 countries around the world on the back of the revelations.