Kind of ironic that as i was gathering together the evidence to take to my agent for my Tax Return, news broke of a leak of 13.4m files that expose the world’s biggest businesses, heads of state and global figures in politics, entertainment and sport sheltering their wealth and avoiding paying tax in secretive tax havens.
Called The Paradise Papers, the leak is from two offshore service providers and the company registries of 19 tax havens and is currently in the hands of the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times.
The first revelations focus on the Queen's private estate investing millions in an offshore tax haven, Donald Trump's commerce secretary continued business links with a company owned by Vladimir Putin's daughter and son in law, two Russian state institutions with close ties to Vladimir Putin funding substantial investments in Twitter and Facebook through a business partner of Donald
Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner.
Also in the spotlight are the chief fundraiser and senior adviser to the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who is involved in the movement of millions of dollars to offshore tax havens, the business manager of INXS star Michael Hutchence’s setting up a company in the tax haven of Mauritius and the close financial relationship between Premier League Clubs Arsenal and Everton.
Expected to be dripped out over weeks and even months, the owners of the Paradise Papers promise to release further revelations of aggressive tax avoidance by multinational corporations, including Nike and Apple, extensive offshore dealings by Donald Trump’s cabinet members, advisers and donors and how some of the biggest names in the film and TV industries protect their wealth with an
array of offshore schemes.
The documents stretch back 70 years and it must be mentioned that in most cases there is no evidence of wrongdoing and it is perfectly legal to reduce your tax bills, that said the moral implications and potential embarrassment that multi-millionaires are jumping through a multitude of hoops to reduce the amount of tax they pay could be a problem for them.
The big problems could be for those who now have the spotlight shone on some of their links with less than favourable people.