World’s powerful figure in global probe on off-shore accounts

RSTV Bureau

ICIJ-gen

A global investigation into black money trail of some of the world’s most powerful people and companies has been released. ‘The Paradise Papers’, as it has been named, was released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists or ICIJ comprising of 95 media partners.

There are about 180 countries represented in the data, India ranks 19th in terms of number of names. According to the reports, a total of 714 Indian names figure in the list.

The papers also reveal offshore interests and activities of more than 120 politicians across the globe and world leaders including Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and former Pakistan PM Shaukat Aziz. At least 13 allies, major donors and Cabinet members of US President Donald J. Trump appear. The files were obtained by a German newspaper and shared with the ICIJ.

It was also revealed that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s top fundraiser and senior advisor Stephen Bronfman, heir to the Seagram fortune, moved some USD 60 million to offshore tax havens with ex-senator Leo Kolber.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has business ties to a shipping firm linked to Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, the papers revealed.

The New York Times reported that Ross’s stake in Navigator has been held by companies in the Cayman Islands. His wealth, estimated to exceed USD 2 billion, is said to be tied to similar arrangements in various tax havens like the Cayman Islands.

The documents also show around 10 million pounds (USD 13 million) of the Queen’s private money was placed in funds held in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, first reported in Britain by the BBC and the Guardian newspaper.

There is however, no suggestion that Ross, Bronfman or the queen’s private estate acted illegally.

The probe investigated 13.4 million leaked files of offshore law firms and company registries in some of the world’s most secretive countries or tax havens.

In April last year, the ICIJ had published 11.5 million documents called the Panama Papers from a Panamanian law firm that were leaked to a German newspaper.

(With inputs from PTI)