Tuesday, November 7, 2017

'Paradise Papers' Reveal Tax Avoidance, Shady Dealings of World's Rich and Powerful









From multiple members of Trump's cabinet to the British Royal Family, document dump of offshore dealings shows how political leaders—joined by wealthy celebrities and the ultra-rich—shelter their assets, keep shady relationships secret, and game the tax systems of nations around the globe







Some of the world's wealthiest and most powerful people will be waking up on Monday to discover that some of their best kept secrets—how they hide their vast wealth and avoid paying taxes—are now being read about in newspapers across the world after the release of a trove of offshore legal and banking documents were leaked to journalists and published Sunday as a joint project called the 'Paradise Papers.'

"In all, the offshore ties of more than a dozen Trump advisers, Cabinet members and major donors appear in the leaked data.

First obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the documents were then shared with scores of journalists and researchers associated with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and other media organizations, including the New York Times, BBC, and the Guardian.

"There is this small group of people who are not equally subject to the laws as the rest of us, and that's on purpose," said author and financial expert Brooke Harrington in response to the new insights about how these elites secretly manage their wealth.

As the ICIJ reports, the "trove of 13.4 million records exposes ties between Russia and U.S. President Donald Trump's billionaire commerce secretary, the secret dealings of the chief fundraiser for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the offshore interests of the Queen of England and more than 120 politicians around the world." According to the ICIJ, the documents show how deeply the offshore financial system is entangled with the overlapping worlds of political players, private wealth and corporate giants, including Apple, Nike, Uber and other global companies that avoid taxes through increasingly imaginative bookkeeping maneuvers.

One offshore web leads to Trump’s commerce secretary, private equity tycoon Wilbur Ross, who has a stake in a shipping companythat has received more than $68 million in revenue since 2014 from a Russian energy company co-owned by the son-in-law of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In all, the offshore ties of more than a dozen Trump advisers, Cabinet members and major donors appear in the leaked data.

At the center for the leak, explains the Guardian, is the law firm Appleby which has "outposts in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. In contrast to Mossack Fonseca, the discredited firm at the centre of last year's Panama Papers investigation, Appleby prides itself on being a leading member of the 'magic circle' of top-ranking offshore service providers."

But what exactly do the 'Paradise Papers' represent? This video explains:
































Paradise Papers, Says Sanders, Expose 'Rapid Movement Toward International Oligarchy'














Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says the trove of documents "shows how these billionaires and multinational corporations get richer by hiding their wealth and profits and avoid paying their fair share of taxes"









"The major issue of our time is the rapid movement toward international oligarchy," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) declared in a statement to the Guardian on Monday, which noted that "Sanders' intervention in the debate sparked by the Paradise Papers marks the most prominent political response to the leak in their opening 24 hours."

Decrying a world "in which a handful of billionaires own and control a significant part of the global economy," Sanders said the trove of more than 13 million leaked documents detailing offshore dealings "shows how these billionaires and multinational corporations get richer by hiding their wealth and profits and avoid paying their fair share of taxes."

Sanders said the documents expose a "major problem not just for the U.S. but for governments throughout the world." According to the Guardian, he also pointed the finger of blame for the flourishing of offshore holdings on both Congress and the Trump administration. He told the Guardian that Republicans in Congress were responsible for providing "even more tax breaks to profitable corporations like Apple and Nike."

The same tax breaks, he said, were being seized upon by super-wealthy members of Trump's cabinet "who avoid billions in U.S. taxes by shifting American jobs and profits to offshore tax havens. We need to close these loopholes and demand a fair and progressive tax system."

Sanders took to Twitter on Monday to call on Congress to investigate the Paradise Papers, adding his voice to growing demands for U.S. government action as several members of President Donald Trump's inner circle continue to be implicated in the leaked records and subsequent news reports.