Leaked ‘Paradise Papers’ show alleged financial dealings of Canadian, U.S. politicians, Queen

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien listens to a speech by Queen Elizabeth during a luncheon in Vancouver October 7, 2002.
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien listens to a speech by Queen Elizabeth during a luncheon in Vancouver October 7, 2002. John Lehmann/Globe and Mail

Over 13 million documents, dubbed the “Paradise Papers,” were leaked to the International Consortium of Journalists, the organization announced Sunday.

Similar to the Panama Papers , this collection of documents was leaked from a prestigious offshore law firm with offices in Bermuda and elsewhere and a  smaller family-owned trust company.

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The files, which were obtained by a German newspaper, reportedly focus on a new set of offshore tax havens.

The Paradise Papers are said to show offshore financial interests and activities of many of the world’s elite companies, politicians and even Queen Elizabeth.

Among the Canadians whose names have been mentioned in connection with the Paradise Papers are Stephen Bronfman, a financier for one of Canada’s wealthiest families and chief fundraiser for Justin Trudeau, as well as former prime ministers Jean Chretien, Paul Martin and Brian Mulroney.

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Bronfman and his godfather, 88-year-old retired senator Leo Kolber, are linked in a complex offshore tax structure that has stashed $60 million (U.S.) in a tax haven, the Toronto Star reports.

The names of at least 13 people with close ties to U.S. President Donald Trump also appear in the Paradise Papers, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

READ MORE: ‘Panama Papers’ leak reveals how rich and famous hide their money

While Ross dumped a large portion of his assets before taking his role with the Trump administration, he held on to his equity in Navigator Holdings Ltd., a shipping firm.

Sibur, a Moscow-based gas and petrochemical company, is thought to be one of Navigator’s largest customers. Sibur owners, including Russian President Vladmir Putin’s son-in-law Kirill Shamalov as well as Gennady Timchenko and Leonid Mikhelson, have been sanctioned by the U.S. government.

A spokesman for Ross told the New York Times that the Commerce Secretary had never met with any of the major Russian shareholders of Sibur.

“Sibur was not under sanctions at the time the contract was signed and is still not subject to sanctions,” James Rockas said.

READ MORE: Following leaked Panama Papers, Ottawa to study ‘tax gap’

This is the first time any financial ties have been established between Trump cabinet members and Putin.

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Other members of the Trump cabinet who are named in the papers include Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and chief economic advisor Gary Cohn, though there is no evidence of any illegalities, the Times reports.

Major Republican Party contributors whose names come up include the Koch Brothers, Carl Icahn and Steve Wynn.

READ MORE: What you need to know about offshore accounts

The Paradise Papers show that the Queen’s  private estate has invested millions of pounds into a Cayman Islands fund, the Guardian reports.

Among the companies the fund has invested in is a company called BrightHouse, a rent-to-own firm which has come under fire for exploiting the poor and vulnerable.

The files also show the tax plans of close to 100 major companies, including corporate giants Apple, Nike and Uber.