November 7th 2017
A massive cache of leaked financial documents – dubbed the Paradise Papers – has exposed hundreds of politicians, multinationals, celebrities, and high-net-worth individuals and how they use complex structures to avoid paying higher taxes.
The documents, obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the same publication that released the similar Panama Papers last year, reveal the offshore financial affairs of people and businesses ranging from Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth, to tech giant Apple and Russian oil company Gazprom.
BREAKING: Prince Charles has been implicated in the #ParadisePapers – looks more serious than The Queen’s involvement.
— Charlie Proctor (@MonarchyUK) November 7, 2017
There are more than 1,400GB of data containing about 13.4 million documents, with over half originating from legal service provider Appleby and corporate services provider Estera.
The leaked data spans almost 70 years, from 1950 to 2016.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) which oversaw the release, issued a statement noting that there are legitimate uses for offshore trusts and companies.
“ICIJ does not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly,” it said in a disclaimer posted online.
But despite the seeming legality, companies like Apple are nevertheless under fire for appearing to hoard billions of untaxed cash offshore, a charge CEO Tim Cook vehemently denied.
“We pay all the taxes we owe, every single dollar,” Mr. Cook declared at the hearing. “We don’t depend on tax gimmicks,” he went on. “We don’t stash money on some Caribbean island.”
However, the New York Times reported that “Apple has accumulated more than $128 billion in profits offshore, and probably much more, that is untaxed by the…