Paradise Papers: The biggest names involved in the financial information leak

Paradise Papers: The biggest names involved in the financial information leak

Several big names have been included in the Paradise Papers

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Paradise Papers have been at the centre of the news this week, but who's actually in them and what it is all about?

Well, 13.4 million documents which were previously kept secret have been released, allegedly tying major companies and high profile figures to overseas arrangements. Most of these seem to be an attempt to pay less tax, though not all of the alleged techniques are illegal.

The majority of the documents are from Appleby law firm, which is based in Bermuda. However the Paradise Papers came about due to leak by an anonymous source to German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung.

The newspaper then passed the information on to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and other news outlets who all revealed the claims on Sunday (November 5).

Take a look at the biggest names involved in the documents below.

The Queen

Probably the biggest name on the list, the Queen has been included in the Paradise Papers. Roughly £10 million of the Queen's private money is said to have been invested offshore by The Duchy of Lancaster, which pays the Queen. The money was allegedly invested in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

Chief finance officer of the estate Chris Adcock told the BBC "our investment strategy is based on advice and recommendation from our investment consultants and appropriate asset allocation...the Duchy has only invested in highly regarded private equity funds following a strong recommendation from our investment consultants."

Lewis Hamilton

The F1 racing driver may be top of the leaderboard in the competition, but this has been somewhat overshadowed by his alleged use of an Isle of Man scheme to avoid paying European tax on his private jet. Accountancy firm EY and Appleby is said to have helped Hamilton to create an artificial leasing business to rent his plane. This is now being investigated by HM Revenue and Customs.

The racing driver claims a senior lawyer looked over this plan and told him that it was within the law. Hamilton also claimed he always relies on professional advice and doesn't take part in day-to-day management of the business.

Apple

The Paradise Papers claim the technology company actually looked around for a way to avoid taxes. It is suggested that it moved the firm who holds most of its untaxed money to Jersey in order to get out of a crackdown on controversial tax practices in Ireland in 2013.

Apple has claimed doing so did not lower the amount it pays in tax in any country, and says it did not move any operations or investments from Ireland. The company still the pays the most tax in the world.

Mrs Brown's Boys

The Papers claim stars of the sitcom Patrick Houlihan, Martin Delany and Fiona O'Carroll took their fees from the BBC programme and put them into offshore shell companies in Mauritius. This has then been reportedly paid back to them in the form of loans that are not subject to taxes.

Houlihan has claimed he was advised to join the scheme however did not fully understand it. Delany and O'Carroll have not yet commented on the matter.

Bono

It is claimed U2's Bono used a company in Malta in order to pay for a share in Nude Estates, which bought a Lithuanian shopping centre. Malta is a low tax jurisdiction and he is said to have done this under his real name Paul Hewson. The shopping centre itself is also under investigation for potential tax avoidance.

The singer has said: "I've been assured by those running the company that it is fully tax compliant, but if that is not the case I want to know as much as the tax office does, and so I also welcome the audit they have said they will undertake."