1.4TB/13.4 million documents have leaked from Appleby, the offshore law-firm that is part of the "magic circle" of firms employed by the super-rich to manipulate their finances; the documents are supplemented with another "offshore provider"'s files, and the company registries of 19 tax havens.
The documents are full of explosive revelations, including the fact that the Queen's Estate has stashed millions in the Caymans and then funneled the money to abusive sweatshops; Trump's inner circle are massive money-launderers and Trump Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross secretly took a fortune from Putin's son-in-law; Twitter and Facebook took in millions in laundered investment capital that originated with "Russian state financial institutions"; Nike and Apple using legally questionable tax avoidance schemes; and much, much more -- hundreds of stories that will ooze out in the weeks to come.
The publication of this investigation, for which more than 380 journalists have spent a year combing through data that stretches back 70 years, comes at a time of growing global income inequality.
Meanwhile, multinational companies are shifting a growing share of profits offshore – €600bn in the last year alone – the leading economist Gabriel Zucman will reveal in a study to be published later this week.
“Tax havens are one of the key engines of the rise in global inequality,” he said. “As inequality rises, offshore tax evasion is becoming an elite sport.”
Paradise Papers leak reveals secrets of world elite's hidden wealth [Juliette Garside/The Guardian]