Paradise Papers, rich people’s scandals worldwide


This 6 November 2017 video from the USA is called ‘Paradise Papers‘ Expose Giant Elite Tax Dodging Scheme.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Paradise Papers: Labour slams Tories for propping up rich tax avoiders

Tuesday 7th November 2017

JEREMY CORBYN called for a public inquiry into tax avoidance yesterday following the explosive Paradise Papers revelations.

The disclosure of 13.4 million secret documents ties major companies, entertainers and political figures to the secretive arrangements with billions of pounds believed to be squirrelled away in offshore tax avoidance schemes.

But the Labour leader said that apologies were not enough and tax-dodgers must recognise the harm their actions cause.

Speaking at the CBI annual conference he said: “Anyone that is putting money into tax havens in order to avoid taxation in Britain, and obviously investigations have to take place, should do two things.

“Not just apologise for it but also recognise what it does to our society.

“Because if the very wealthy person wants to avoid taxation in Britain and therefore put money into a tax haven somewhere, who loses?

“Schools, hospitals, housing, all those public services lose and the rest of the population have to pay to cover up the deficit created by that.”

Chancellor Philip Hammond failed to turn up for an urgent Commons question tabled by Labour on the Paradise Papers, with Labour’s John McDonnell branding his absence “unacceptable.”

The shadow chancellor said there would have to be a “critically overriding” reason for Mr Hammond’s no-show. And the Tax Justice Campaign said the Paradise Papers exposed Britain as a centre of tax avoidance with its network of offshore tax havens in crown dependencies and overseas territories.

Campaign director Tim Snell suggested that the government could end tax avoidance but had failed to make it a priority.

“In fact, rather than take on the tax-dodgers, successive governments have cut off HMRC at its knees, slashing its funding and the number of tax inspectors by half over the last decade.

“When the wealthy engage in the kind of practices seen in the Paradise Papers, they are picking the pockets of nurses, teachers, doctors and other hard-working public servants, and harming the lives of everyone in the UK who uses public services.”

He said the government must take “swift action” to bring tax-dodgers to heel.

General union Unite said it was “outrageous” that while those on zero-hours contracts and in low-paid employment were expected to pay tax on their wages “to the last penny,” the rich and powerful could “squirrel away” millions in offshore accounts.

The union accused the Tories of failing to act because of its “direct benefit from the tax affairs of Tory donor Lord Ashcroft” who has donated £10 million to the party and has been revealed as one of those hiding millions from the taxpayer.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Taxpayers will be furious at the efforts of the super-rich and their advisers, including the Queen’s, to dodge paying their fair share of tax.

“These tax avoidance schemes may be legal, but there is deep anger and disgust about the ‘them and us’ attitude to paying tax revealed in the Paradise Papers.”

He blasted PM Theresa May’s refusal to commit to introducing a public register of who owns offshore companies and trusts in British tax havens or to opening a public inquiry into tax avoidance.

“Those struggling to put food on the table for their families and to pay their mortgages and rents are expected to pay every penny of tax on the dot, but there is a parallel financial universe for the global elite, using fancy accounting instruments and legal wheezes, to protect their mountains of cash from the taxman,” he said.

He said that tax avoidance was just as immoral as tax evasion and called for Theresa May to take the lead with “robust proposals” in this month’s Budget.

This video says about itself:

Paradise Papers – Colombian President Deep in the Swamp

6 November 2017

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has been named among the 127 world leaders in the Paradise Papers scandal.

United States corporation Procter & Gamble tax dodging with Dutch government complicity: here.

Paradise Papers and the Dutch rotal family: here.

The Panama Papers and Paradise Papers provide evidence that companies and individuals are evading tax on a large scale. Worldwide tax agreements can put a stop to this. But for the time being a treaty that will address the problem at its root is not in sight, in the opinion of legal expert Dirk Broekhuijsen. PhD defense on 16 November 2017: here.

Paradise Papers shed light on how giant companies and the super-rich avoid taxation: here.

15 thoughts on “Paradise Papers, rich people’s scandals worldwide

  1. Tuesday 7th November 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell is certain, as only a sycophant can be, that salting £10 million of the Queen’s fortune in Bermuda is not about tax dodging.

    Perhaps because neither the Queen nor the Duchy of Lancaster, which invests Crown wealth, is legally required to pay income tax, capital gains tax or inheritance tax.

    Only out of the kindness of her heart does this figurehead of an outdated but lucrative institution agree to pay tax equivalents on a voluntary basis.

    If all that is accepted as read under the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding on Royal Taxation, this begs the question: “Why shift £10 million offshore if there is no financial benefit in so doing?”

    Will wealth transferred offshore reduce, even if only temporarily, the monarchical millions available for voluntary taxation in Britain?

    We have become used to the royal family pleading poverty, with the usual media suspects lining up to tell us how much her majesty and ever-increasing family have been tightening their belts and how pleased we should all be to contribute to this huge tourist asset that only costs each family in Britain the equivalent of two dog biscuits a month or whatever.

    On the basis of such guff, the monarchy was bunged another £8 million this year on top of its previous £74m.

    Why couldn’t the £10m bound for an offshore tax haven have plugged the supposed hole in royal finances that required yet another taxpayer handout?

    Most public service workers in Britain have had their incomes frozen for virtually a decade while profitable private employers have jumped on the impoverishment bandwagon, claiming to be unable to offer pay rises while sitting on billions of pounds of uninvested capital or exporting it overseas.

    Transferring wealth overseas for property speculation or investment in tax havens is viewed as acceptable behaviour by Britain’s ruling class.

    Many Cabinet members have benefited from such schemes even if they disown them publicly now.

    If Theresa May’s government regarded the Paradise Papers revelations as a huge scandal, Chancellor Philip Hammond would have known that he had to be in the House to answer questions on it.

    His substitute Treasury Minister Mel Stride tried to sidestep real issues by repeating the government’s unsubstantiated claim that it has collected £160 billion extra in taxation since 2010 by clamping down on evasion, “aggressive” avoidance and non-compliance.

    But, as shadow chancellor John McDonnell noted, even Hammond accepts that the Treasury is still losing £30bn annually in this way, while taxation experts quote figures of more than three times this total.

    The ability of the rich and powerful to choose whether to pay tax in Britain is beyond a joke when the vast majority of earners are covered by closely monitored PAYE and self-assessment.

    The Tories are reluctant to carry through more than headline-grabbing cosmetic changes since many of their supporters benefit greatly from shifting wealth overseas.

    Major donor and former treasurer Lord Ashcroft, who failed to honour David Cameron’s pledge that he would drop his non-dom status when elevated to the peerage, remains up to his eyes in offshore havens.

    Many media moguls base their finances offshore, so there won’t be a mass clamour for change from that direction.

    All the more reason to back Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s call for a public inquiry into aggressive tax avoidance to shed light on those denying essential investment funds for our NHS, education, council housing, infrastructure renewal and industrial development.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-c3f2-Tax-dodging-is-killing-Britains-public-services#.WgIqRnaDMdU

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  2. Tuesday, 7 November 2017

    End the legal thievery of the super-rich with expropriation and a socialist revolution!

    THE SECRET hidden world of the mega rich, giant corporations, hedge funds, politicians, heads of State and the Queen has had the spotlight thrown on how they hide and protect their huge fortunes from the laws that govern ordinary people.

    The light has come with the release of the Paradise Papers, 13.4 million secret files from the law firm Appleby, a legal firm based in Bermuda, the Isle of Man and other tax ‘havens’ and which specialises in advising companies and individuals on how to set up companies and trusts in countries with zero or low tax rates and which guarantee high levels of financial confidentiality.

    The Paradise Papers are a trove of secret information leaked initially to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) which includes the BBC and Guardian newspaper.

    The small amount of information revealed so far exposes the fact that the estate of Queen Elizabeth has secretly invested £10 million of her private money in offshore accounts. The Duchy of Lancaster, which manages the Queen’s £500 million private estate providing her with an income, had funds in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

    These funds have never been previously disclosed in the official Royal accounts. Some of this £10 million has gone into investing in such regal enterprises as the Threshers chain of off-licences, which went bust owing £17.5 million in tax and which cost 6,000 workers their jobs.

    Another investment is in the rent-to-buy retailer BrightHouse. BrightHouse rents TVs, washing machines and other expensive goods and charges up to 99.9% interest. Last month the company was ordered to pay out £14.8 million in compensation to customers after the City watchdog ruled it was not a ‘responsible lender’ and it was accused of ‘predatory’ tactics.

    Of course companies that make their profit out of the poor are seen as a good investment for the Queen, anything to keep the Royal parasites in luxury, and who cares if working class families find themselves drowning in debt and facing eviction.

    The other big name in British politics to emerge so far is Lord Ashcroft, the multi-millionaire former Tory party deputy chairman and massive donor to the Tory cause. According to the BBC, the leaked documents indicate that he ‘remained a non-dom, and continued to avoid tax despite attempts by Parliament to make peers pay their full share’.

    The Paradise Papers show that Ashcroft was domiciled for tax purposes in Belize at a time when he was reported to have given up the status and was now domiciled in Britain and therefore liable to UK taxation.

    Viewers of Sunday night’s BBC Panorama programme will have witnessed the sight of this Tory lord hiding in the toilets at the recent Tory party conference in order to evade a journalist questioning him on his tax arrangements.

    Of course it must be stressed that none of these activities are illegal – perish the thought. It is perfectly legal for the capitalist class to avoid paying taxes, after all they wrote the laws that say it is perfectly OK and they spend a fortune on lawyers to prove it is legal.

    The same class and their tame Tory government also makes it perfectly legal for working class families to be cut off from their benefit entitlements for weeks and months and forced to live on fresh air or throw themselves on the mercy of the loan sharks.

    It is also perfectly legal for land and buildings belonging to the public for use by the NHS to be sold off to speculators who will then legally put their massive profits in offshore accounts and legally avoid taxes.

    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responded to the revelations by saying that the next Labour government will ‘clamp down on tax havens’ and end the ‘loopholes’. This is pathetic. There is only one way to clamp down on the capitalist class and that is to abolish the lot of them through socialist revolution. Only by bringing down the Tories and advancing to a workers government that will expropriate the bosses, bankers and hedge fund speculators as part of a socialist society can this ‘legal’ thievery be abolished.

    https://wrp.org.uk/news/13791

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  3. Wednesday 8th November 2017

    COMPUTER giant Apple was revealed yesterday to have shifted two overseas subsidiaries from Ireland to Jersey in order to keep dodging tax.

    According to a documents in the cache known as the Paradise Papers, the company moved its offshore operations to the Channel Islands tax haven after Ireland began tightening its notoriously lax rules in 2013.

    Apple, the world’s most profitable company, has kept many of its subsidiaries in Ireland, but the two that were moved to Jersey are considered important — with one thought to control a £190 billion hoard of cash.

    It continues to pay very low rates of tax outside the US, where its headquarters and most of its employees are located, by shifting its profits around. The rate in Jersey is half that of Ireland.

    Apple’s previous tax-dodging scheme in Ireland — entirely legal — was described in a US Senate committee report as “a gimmick.”

    That, and an EU investigation, forced Ireland to announce tax changes in October 2013. Leaked documents show that Apple began shopping around for a new tax haven early the following year.

    Its lawyers asked offshore tax architects Appleby “to provide assistance with and co-ordination of a multijurisdictional project involving the British Virgin Islands, Cayman, Guernsey, Isle of Man and Jersey.”

    All are notorious tax havens and all are British “crown dependencies” or overseas territories — meaning that the British government could put a stop to their shady financial schemes if it wanted to.

    Apple has alleged that reports of its tax dodging contain “inaccuracies” and claimed to be the biggest corporate taxpayer in the world — which does not prevent it from also being a first-rate tax avoider.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-8d6c-Apple-keeps-stash-on-move#.WgMc9XaDMdU

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  4. Everything you need to know about the massive Paradise Papers leak (Vice)
    https://news.vice.com/story/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-massive-paradise-papers-leak

    Reaction around the world to release of Paradise Papers – live (The Guardian)
    https://www.theguardian.com/news/live/2017/nov/06/reaction-around-world-release-paradise-papers-live

    Just 8 men own same wealth as half the world (Oxfam)
    https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2017-01-16/just-8-men-own-same-wealth-half-world

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  5. Thursday 9th November 2017

    WILL SNELL outlines Tax Justice UK’s call on the government to put an end the scourge of tax avoidance once and for all

    TAX Justice UK, the country’s leading campaigning organisation dedicated to fighting for a fairer tax system, has called on the Prime Minister to take the action needed to tackle tax avoidance in the wake of the release of the “Paradise Papers.”

    These revelations are just the latest in a long line of tax scandals. Once again, Britain and its network of offshore tax havens in the crown dependencies and overseas territories are at the centre of the leak.

    The system, which is rigged to benefit the privileged few at the expense of everyone else, is broken.

    The impact on our public services of these corrupt practices, protected by a veil of secrecy, has been devastating. After seven years of austerity, it is time for irresponsible tax dodging to come to an end.

    HMRC, the government body tasked with policing the tax system, has seen its staff numbers and budget halved since it was formed in 2005.

    Meanwhile, the British government has failed to take the opportunity to clean up the offshore system, in territories like Bermuda that are under its control, and make it harder for individuals and companies to avoid tax. It is little wonder that tax dodgers are taking advantage.

    Tax Justice UK is now calling for the Prime Minister to take decisive action to end the scourge of tax avoidance, once and for all, by tightening up on enforcement and introducing new transparency rules.

    We are calling on the Prime Minister to commit to:

    • Properly funding HMRC. HMRC’s budget has been cut by 40 per cent since 2000, and its staffing has almost halved since 2005. Every extra £1 invested in enforcing large company taxation rules would yield £97 in additional tax revenues, according to the government’s own figures. It is time to invest again in the enforcement of British tax legislation.

    • Stopping the practice of granting amnesties to those who hide their money offshore. The government has done this after previous leaks. This is unnecessary and harmful to the interests of the British population.

    • Abolishing “non-dom” status. This antiquated system serves no purpose other than facilitating tax avoidance by wealthy individuals. It is time for it to consigned to the history books.

    • Tightening the regulation of accountants, lawyers and bankers. These professions are largely self-regulated. More stringent regulation is needed to prevent the kind of abuse that has been uncovered by the Paradise Papers.

    • Introducing public registers of beneficial ownership for trusts as well as companies, and compelling Britain’s crown dependencies and overseas territories to do the same. The Paradise Papers have shown that the abuse of trusts is a major driver of corruption and tax avoidance. This can be dealt with through greater transparency. Meanwhile, the government has consistently failed to put pressure on its offshore territories to introduce its own public registers of companies and trusts. It has the power to mandate them to act. It should use it.

    • Mandating public country-by-country reporting for all publicly quoted companies. The government has had the power to do this since last year, but has failed to act on it. Forcing large companies to disclose the size of their operations and the amount of tax paid in each country would significantly reduce the scope for corporate tax avoidance.

    • Publicly reviewing tax breaks for corporations and wealthy individuals. Tax reliefs cost billions of pounds every year, yet we still don’t know whether they deliver value for money. We need to know the costs and benefits of them all.

    Tax Justice UK and 38 Degrees have launched a petition calling on the Prime Minister to take the steps outlined above to tackle tax avoidance in the wake of the release of the Paradise Papers.

    In less than two days, the petition has attracted more than 110,000 signatures from British taxpayers angered at the failure of the government to put an end to the abusive behaviour of multinational companies and wealthy individuals whose efforts to avoid tax have a direct impact on public services.

    The government knows what needs to be done to tackle tax avoidance and evasion, but the issue just hasn’t been a priority.

    In fact, rather than take on the tax dodgers, successive governments have cut off HMRC at its knees, slashing its funding and the number of tax inspectors by half over the last decade.

    When the wealthy engage in the kind of practices seen in the Paradise Papers, they are picking the pockets of nurses, teachers, doctors and other hard-working public servants, and harming the lives of everyone in Britain who uses public services.

    The latest leak of information from one of the largest facilitators of the offshore system shows that the tax avoidance industry is still alive and well.

    The government must now take swift action to make sure that tax dodgers are brought to heel.

    • Will Snell is director of Tax Justice UK.

    • You can sign the petition at http://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/taxavoidance, or read more on the Tax Justice website at http://taxjustice.uk.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-2e40-Offshore-tax-dodging-makes-us-all-poorer#.WgQ1GDuDMdU

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