Finance Finance News Queen, James Packer caught up in Paradise Papers leak

Queen, James Packer caught up in Paradise Papers leak

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The Paradise Papers have revealed Queen Elizabeth's private estate has investments in tax havens. AAP
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Queen Elizabeth II and James Packer are among dozens of the world’s richest people to have their tax minimisation details revealed in a massive leak of financial documents.

Dubbed the Paradise Papers, the leak is thought to be one of the biggest in history with more than 13.4 million files revealing the workings of the tax haven industry.

Over half the documents, 6.8 million, emanate from the offshore law firm, Appleby, but the leak also includes roughly half-a-million documents from the Singapore-based Asiaciti Trust and a further six million documents from corporate registries located in 19 tax havens.

The cache of documents reveals an industry designed to sell secrecy. It also offers rare insights into the complex offshore structures used by multinationals to minimise their tax bills.

The leaks were obtained by the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and over 90 media partners including Four Corners.

The files include emails, bank statements, court documents and client records covering a period of 66 years — from 1950 to 2016.

Who is in the data?

Royalty, rock stars and 120 politicians from around the world are exposed in the documents.

They are joined by oligarchs from Russia, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

The financial affairs of the Queen, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s key fundraiser and Russian tech investor Yuri Milner are revealed.

The leaked data discloses offshore ties of more than a dozen Trump advisers, cabinet members and major donors.

Closer to home, new details of Australian rock icon Michael Hutchence’s long contested estate are uncovered in the data, along with Mr Packer’s manoeuvring.

On the corporate front there are rare insights into the hidden offshore tax structures used by multinationals including Facebook and mining giant Glencore.

The Paradise Papers show that about £10 million ($A17 million) of the Queen’s private money was invested offshore.

It was put into funds in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda by the Duchy of Lancaster, which provides the Queen with an income and handles investments for her £500-million ($A854-milion) private estate.

While there is nothing illegal in the investments and no suggestion that the Queen is not paying tax, questions will be asked as to whether the monarch should be investing offshore.

The Queen’s private estate is shown to have invested in Cayman Islands and Guernsey-based funds, including one that invested in a UK consumer lending company that was ordered to repay millions of pounds to customers for breaching responsible lending standards.

A Royal spokesman said Her Majesty was unaware of the investment, and the Queen pays tax on a voluntary basis.

When Mr Packer and his former business partner Lawrence Ho were establishing their Studio City casino in Macau, their joint venture Melco Crown asked Appleby to set up an offshore company for it in the British Virgin Islands.

-With ABC

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