Leaked to the public more than a week ago, the Paradise Papers, published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), is just the latest cache shedding light on the trillions of dollars being moved through offshore accounts.
Speaking to Sputnik Radio’s Fault Lines with Garland Nixon and Lee Stranahan, Rosie Perper, a global news reporter for Business Insider, provided some insight on the scandalous revelations.
The massive leak is “a treasure trove of 13 million internal documents showing the inner workings of companies that facilitate tax havens, also known as offshore accounts, for very wealthy investors.”
The leak also shows the international and bipartisan nature of these shady financial dealings. “Plenty of people across the political spectrum were named,” Perper said, adding that “it wasn’t just in the US and it wasn’t anybody in particular that was targeted.”
Could the massive leak just be part of a plot by billionaires, Nixon speculated, angling for US taxes to be lowered to entice the rich to bring their money back on US soil?
“The idea that billionaires want these papers out… I don’t know if I necessarily agree with that because there are consequences to the papers being released,” Perper responded.
“Since the papers have come out, especially last year as the Panama Papers came out, a lot of these big names that were mentioned, they did face a lot of consequences,” Perper added. “The European Commission ordered Apple to pay back $14.5 billion to Ireland in unpaid taxes.”
But what’s being exposed in the Paradise Papers, so far, hasn’t quite been technically illegal.
“So tax haven offshore accounts, [they] are a legal practice,” Perper said. “[But] while the practice is legal, illegal activity does occur because of these offshore accounts.”
In essence, “it’s just a shell game to hide your money,” Nixon quipped.
Some of the key findings that the ICIJ noted in the Paradise Papers include offshore interests and activities of more than 120 politicians and world leaders, including Queen Elizabeth II and 13 of her advisers as well as major donors linked to the administration of US President Donald Trump. The findings, according to the team of investigative journalists, also expose “the tax engineering of more than 100 multinational corporations, including Apple, Nike and Botox-maker Allergan.”