The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the body of journalists responsible for revealing the Panama Papers a year ago, on Sunday made new revelations regarding offshore companies of more than 120 politicians and world leaders including former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.
The trove of 13.4 million records has been dubbed the Paradise Papers.
“The documents speak for themselves. The kind of patterns we saw with the Panama Papers are now being repeated in the Paradise Papers. Our work is not yet done,” the ICIJ Director Gerard Ryle said about the Paradise Papers.
— ICIJ (@ICIJorg) November 5, 2017
The Paradise Papers expose 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.
The leaked 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, said the ICIJ.
In addition to disclosures about politicians and corporations, the files reveal details about the financial lives of the rich and famous – and the unknown. They include Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s yacht and submarines, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Cayman Island investment vehicle, and music star Madonna’s shares in a medical supplies company. Pop singer and social justice activist Bono – listed under his full name, Paul Hewson – owned shares in a company registered in Malta that invested in shopping center in Lithuania, company records show. Other clients listed their occupations as dog groomer, plumber and wakeboard instructor.
Ex-PM Shaukat Aziz named
Aziz was one of the shareholders and directors of Bahamas-registered Cititrust Limited from 1997 to 1999.
In 1999, the year he was appointed finance minister, Aziz created the Antarctic Trust, which was “constituted [in the United States] for the benefit of the Settlor’s family,” which includes his wife, three children and a granddaughter. The trust does not appear in the financial disclosure statements Aziz submitted from 2003 to 2006, while he was finance minister and prime minister.
Appleby’s Bermuda office was the trust’s protector, acting as an independent overseer. In a 2012 internal memo, the law firm’s compliance officer noted that Aziz had been accused by the opposition of false declaration of assets, corruption and misappropriation of funds. Three years later, in a database of high-risk clients, Appleby also noted that a Pakistani court had issued three arrest warrants against Aziz in relation to the killing of a local leader. In September 2015, Antarctic Trust was closed and the related file removed from one of Appleby’s internal databases. Aziz has dismissed both the accusations of graft and any association with the murder.
Some of the other many world leaders and politicians of the world are as follows.
Secretary of state, U.S. (2016-present) Rex Tillerson (who recently visited Pakistan)
Secretary of commerce, US (2016-present) Wilbur Louis Ross, Jr. (the Paradise Papers reveal that the US commerce secretary has Russian business ties)
Federal Reserve Board member and vice chair for bank supervision, US, Randal Quarles
Candidate for US Democratic Party presidential nomination (2004) Wesley K Clark
Former secretary of commerce, US (2013-2017) Penny Pritzker
US national former queen of Jordan (1978-1999) Noor al-Hussein
Apart from Tillerson, Louis Ross and Quarles, 10 more Trump’s allies have been named in the fresh documents.
Indian Parliamentarian (2014-present) Ravindra Kishore Sinha
Minister of civil aviation, India (2016-present) Jayant Sinha
Queen, United Kingdom (1952-present) Queen Elizabeth II
Former treasury commercial secretary, UK (2010-2013) James Meyer Sassoon
Former deputy minister of defense, Saudi Arabia (2011-2013) Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz
Former prime minister, Canada (1993-2003) Jean Chrétien
Former prime minister, Canada (2003-2006) Paul Martin
Former prime minister, Canada (1984-1993) Brian Mulroney