US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Britain's Queen Elizabeth and a key ally to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are among the 120 rich and powerful people mentioned in the Paradise Papers, a new release of data about offshore tax havens and obscure financial dealings.
The Paradise Papers are a massive trove of 13.4 million records — many of which were leaked from the offshore law firm Appleby, which was founded more than 100 years ago and operates in places ranging from Bermuda and the Cayman Islands to the Isle of Man, Mauritius, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Reflecting millions of loan deals, financial statements, emails and other documents, the data reveals how specialty firms handle the money of wealthy individuals, families and corporations.
Some 380 journalists collaborated to unravel the connections in the Paradise Papers' nearly 1.5 terabytes of data. The trove was acquired by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which says the records show how the wealthy and powerful sometimes duck taxes, regulations, sanctions and "at least their social responsibility."
Wilbur Ross "was a major client of Appleby," the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists says, noting that the law firm administered more than 50 companies and partnerships linked to investments on behalf of his private equity firm, W.L. Ross & Co, LLC.