A new discovery made by German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung speaks of how the world’s elite stowed away their money in certain offshore tax havens. Some well-known names highlighted in the leak include Queen Elizabeth II.
The leak has been christened the “Paradise Papers” and contains close to 13.4m documents, most of which come from a leading offshore finance firm.
The documents were exposed by a German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung , which was also responsible for the Panama Papers leak last year. The newspaper enlisted the services of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) to oversee the investigation.
The leak, which came to light on Sunday, is only a small part of a week full of disclosures exposing the financial affairs of those named in the data.
Unsurprisingly, a major portion of the defaulters have strong ties to the UK.
Reports have focused on the status of the identities released in the leak. Many are politicians, celebrities, and individuals whose net worth is substantially high. Others named include major multinationals and companies with sufficient financial prowess. Most of these, both individuals and companies, use a complex maze of trusts, foundations, and shell companies to hide their large earnings.
However, interestingly enough, most of these transactions involve no legal wrongdoings.
Among the key figures brought to light by the leak, there is a key aide to Canada’s PM. That is sure to come as a major blow to Canada’s PM, Justin Trudeau who has campaigned hard to shut down tax havens.
Another prominent public figure hauling over the coals was the Queen of England. The Paradise Papers showed that close to $13m of the Queen’s private money was invested in one of these infamous tax havens.
The money was put into the havens by the Duchy of Lancaster, which provides the Queen’s income. It also handles any investments made by the Queen’s sprawling private estate.
Although there is nothing illegal about the investments, and there has been no suggestion that the Queen is avoiding tax, the public at large wonders if she ought to indulge in such an action.
Investing in tax havens have long been seen as a fairly seedy transaction, and to having the monarch’s name on the list has certainly ruffled some feathers.