Paradise Papers is a set of 13.4 million secret digital documents. The confidential documents reveal offshore investment made by influential and celebrated individuals and well-known companies from various parts of the globe. It is alleged that the investments might have been carried out to conceal income from taxation. The Paradise Papers were leaked to public on 5 November, 2017.
The investigation resulting in release of Paradise Papers was carried out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) working in partnership with 96 news organizations. The documents were first obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. The documents were originated from law firm Appleby, business registries in 19 tax jurisdictions and corporate service providers Estera and Asiaciti. The Paradise paper leak follows Panama Papers leak that occurred around eighteen months back. It created lot of political ripples across the world. Süddeutsche Zeitung and ICIJ were behind said leak also.
Appleby has been treated as one of the most efficient and largest legal service providers of the world. Appleby is an offshore law firm with 10 offices around the globe. They work as advisers to global public and private companies, financial institutions, and high net worth individuals by providing practical solutions to their investment matter over multiple jurisdictions.
Estera which has been in existence for more than 25 years is a world-leading provider of fiduciary and administration services. It offers investment and accounting services to corporates, funds and trusts over eleven jurisdictions including Bermuda, Cayman, Hong Kong and Mauritius. They provide client specific smart and practical investment solutions.
Asiaciti Trust with headquarters in Singapore has 40 years of experience in fiduciary and administrative services to individuals and corporates. It is an international trust and corporate services provider. It has operations in the Cook Islands, Panama, Newsland , Dubai, Nevis etc. They provide structured solution over many jurisdictions.
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has once again succeed in bringing out how politicians, celebrities and HNIs use trusts, foundations and shell companies to carry out investments. It is assumed that majority of such investments were made to save tax. But, proper enquiries by various agencies only will reveal whether the investors and the agencies mentioned in the list had adopted any malpractices. Many countries Including India have announced enquiries.
The Paradise papers contain names of around 12,000 eminent persons and companies across the world. Total amount of money involved is estimated to be over $ 10 trillion. Financial dealings of Queen Elizabeth II, Juan Manuel Santos ( the President of Colombia), singer Madonna, and Wilbur Ross.(the U.S. Secretary of Commerce) are mentioned in the documents.
Companies and individuals from 180 countries are represented in the papers. In terms of names mentioned, India ranks 19th with 714 Indians finding place in the list. Prominent Indians mentioned in the list includes Jayant Sinha, Kartik Chidambaram, Nira Radia, Qimat Rai Gupta, R K Sinha, Sachin Pilot and Vijay Mallia.