The rich are not like you and I. They have money that needs to be sheltered, invested and moved in ways that maximize return and minimize taxes. While many of these financial dealings/instruments/maneuvres aren’t illegal, they certainly can raise an eyebrow or two amongst us common folk.
The latest rock to be turned over is being called the Paradise Papers, a dump of 13.4 million files that show how the rich, the powerful and the connected protect their wealth. Amongst the revelations:
–Bono used a company based in Malta to invest in a shopping centre in Lithuania. He’s part owner of a mall in a small town called Utena. Totally legit, by the way–Bono is a passive investor in the company–but the use of Malta, a low tax jurisdiction, is an example of how wealth can be maximized and protected.
–Madonna has a stake in medical supplies company. Again, totally legit, but she used Jersey, a tax dodge haven in the English channel.
–The estate of Michael Hutchence set up a company for the “commercial exploitation” of the INXS man’s music.
–Closer to home, three former Canadian prime ministers and a current liberal fundraiser are mentioned.
–The Queen’s estate has secretly invested £10 million in a variety of tax havens including the Cayman Island and Bermuda.
–Wilbur Ross, Donald Trump’s commerce secretary and anti-NAFTA guy, has a stake in some Russian firms that are currently under sanction. One is an energy company co-owned by Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law. Did he disclose that during his confirmation hearings? Nope.
Is this the beginning of a new series of scandals like we saw with the Panama Papers? Stay tuned.