A massive leak of 13.4 million files from offshore law firms and company registries in 19 tax havens across the globe have exposed dealings of the wealthy and world leaders, including associates of US president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The documents, known as ‘The Paradise Papers’, were obtained by the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and explored by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a Washington-based non-profit organization, in collaboration with 96 news organisations.
The documents include around seven million loan agreements, financial statements, emails, trust deeds and other paperwork from Bermuda law firm Appleby, which exposed tax dealings of 100 multinational companies such as Apple, Uber and Nike. The documents also include files from family-owned trust firm Asiaciti.
Notably, the files found that Queen Elizabeth II’s private estate invested in a rent-to-own loan firm accused of predatory tactics.
The documents also exposed ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, revealing that the latter has interest in a shipping company that does business with an energy firm owned by Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law and a sanctioned Russian tycoon.
In 2016, ICIJ also released a database of the so-called Panama Papers, which revealed the secret dealings of around 214,000 offshore entities created in 21 offshore jurisdictions.