MADRID – Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and singers Bono and Madonna are among the 127 internationally known figures linked to offshore tax havens, according to a journalistic investigation published simultaneously on Sunday by assorted media outlets.
The investigation, undertaken by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and called the “Paradise Papers,” was performed by 382 reporters at almost 100 media outlets who analyzed more than 13 million tax haven documents covering the period 1950-2016.
The documents were leaked from the Appleby and Asiatici Trust Law Firm and received by Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, which called in the ICIJ to examine them.
The documents come from 19 jurisdictions on the worldwide list of tax havens: Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Labuan, Lebanon, Malta, the Marshall Islands, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Samoa, Trinidad & Tobago and Vanuatu.
Among the leaders and other public figures linked to the offshore tax havens, according to the ICIJ’s analysis, are Queen Elizabeth, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, and Stephen Bronfman, the fundraiser for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s election campaign, among others.
According to the ICIJ analysis, Queen Elizabeth’s private estate invested some 10 million pounds (about $13 million) offshore including a small amount in the company behind BrightHouse, a chain accused of irresponsible lending.
In the case of Colombian President Santos, he appears as the “director” of two offshore corporations based in Barbados, although he said his association with those firms ended prior to 2000, when he became finance minister and he never invested in them or was a partner in them.
Also on the list is pop icon Madonna, a stockholder, according to the report, in a “medical supply company in Bermuda” registered in 1997 and dissolved in 2013, and the frontman for the Irish band U2, Bono, listed as a stockholder in a corporation registered in Malta from 2006-2014, the owner of a shopping center in Lithuania.
According to the media outlets collaborating in the investigation, this is the largest leak of tax haven documents in history and is “even more important” that the so-called Panama Papers, which were leaked in April 2016.
Participating in analyzing the documents, among others, were the Spanish media outlets La Sexta and El Confidencial, along with The New York Times, the BBC, The Guardian, La Nacion and Le Monde.