Ultra-rich persons named in Paradise papers for links with tax heavens

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The Queen’s private estate, Bono and one of Donald Trump’s closest advisors are among those whose offshore investments have been revealed in the largest ever leak, dubbed the “Paradise Papers”.

The 13.4 million files, which were obtained after a hack on law firm Appleby which has offices in Bermuda, the Isle of Man and a number of other tax havens, show the complex financial dealings of the super-rich and major global corporations.

Tory donor Lord Michael Ashcroft, Donald Trump’s advisor Wilbur Ross and Arsenal football club stakeholder Alisher Usmanov have been named in the documents alongside Stephen Bronfman, chief fundraiser and senior adviser to the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau and a dozen of Trump administration advisers, Cabinet members or major donors who appeared in the records.

The papers also show that DST Global, a major investor in Twitter and Facebook, has financial ties to two firms owned by the Russian Government.

The documents show that in 2005 the Queen’s private estate invested £7.5m in Dover Street VI Cayman Fund LP, held on the Cayman Islands, which in turn invested in BrightHouse, a rent-to-own firm which has been criticized for irresponsible lending, and off-license chain Threshers.

The Queen does not manage the Duchy of Lancaster’s investments, which are decided by a council, and pays tax voluntarily on any income.

U2 frontman Bono, whose real name is Paul Hewson, was shown to have used a company based in Malta – a low tax jurisdiction – to pay for a share in a shopping center in Lithuania.

The details were likely to add to the questions about ties between Russia and the Trump administration which are being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller.

It comes just a year after the release of the so-called “Panama Papers”, in which the hidden millions of some of the world’s richest and most powerful were exposed sparking the downfall of several governments around the world.

The latest revelations will increase pressure on the Government to crack down on legal tax avoidance schemes.

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