6 November 2017
The name refers to a leak of 13.4m files. Of these 6.8m – relate to a law firm and corporate services provider Appleby. It operated in 10 jurisdictions under this name. Last year, the “fiduciary” arm of the business was renamed Estera after a management buyout. Asiaciti is also implicated along with Appleby. Asiatic has an office in Singapore along with other offices in many other destinations. The news was revealed to the public on 5 November 2017.
Appleby, a 119-year-old company, is not a tax advisor, but a leading member of the global network of lawyers, accountants, bankers and other operatives.
This is the second biggest leak after the Panama Papers. Panama Papers amounted to 2.66TB of data, while Paradise Papers contain 1.4TB of data. These two leaks dwarf WikiLeaks which contained a mere 1.7GB of data. Other similar leaks include 3.3GB HSBC files in 2015, 4.4GB Luxembourg tax files in 2014 and 260GB Offshore secrets in 2013.
The leaks were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which also received the Panama Papers last year. Süddeutsche Zeitung, like in the case of Panama Papers, shared the material with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists(ÍCIJ), a US-based organization that coordinated the global collaboration. ICIJ and its media partners are expected to publish several stories in the coming days and weeks. Süddeutsche Zeitung has not, and will not, disclose its source.
Some of the world’s biggest multinationals feature in the leak, including Apple, Nike and Facebook, President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos, the Queen Elizabeth II and some actors of British sitcoms as well as Hollywood. Paradise Papers open the door for regulatory bodies to investigate and ascertain the legitimacy of these offshore transactions.
There are also details from 19 tax haven registries maintained by governments in secrecy jurisdictions like Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Cook Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Labuan, Lebanon, Malta, the Marshall Islands, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vanuatu.
Leaked documents show alleged ties between US President Donald Trump’s billionaire commerce secretary and Russia. The Appleby files show how Ross, Trump’s commerce secretary, maintained a financial stake in Navigator Holdings, a shipping company whose clients include the Kremlin-linked energy firm Sibur. Among Sibur’s key owners are Kirill Shamalov, Putin’s son-in-law, and Gennady Timchenko, a billionaire the U.S. government sanctioned in 2014 because of his links to Putin. Sibur is a major customer of Navigator.
When he joined Trump’s Cabinet, Ross divested his interests in 80 companies. But he kept stakes in nine companies, including the four that connect him to Navigator and its Russian clients.
The leaked papers also show that Russian companies owned stakes in Twitter and Facebook. Facebook and Twitter said they had properly reviewed these investments.