The Paradise Papers are documents which show how rich people – celebrities, politicians and businessmen use offshore countries to protect themselves from paying high taxes. The documents were leaked to the German Süddeutsche Zeitung and examined by 400 journalists from all over the world.
There are more than 13 million documents that contain 1,400 GB of information. They reveal financial transactions of hundreds of individuals, as well as famous corporations like Apple and Nike.
Among those accused of investing money in offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes are close advisors of US President Donald Trump and German ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. The documents also reveal that some of Queen Elisabeth’s private money was invested in offshore accounts. Russian oligarchs with ties to the Kremlin and an aide to Canada’s Prime Minister are also named in the report.
The majority of the Paradise Papers comes from Appleby, a law firm that helps companies and rich people reduce their tax burden through offshore accounts. The firm with headquarters in Bermuda has thousands of clients and offices around the world. The other documents come from various businesses in the Carribean.
Two years ago the Panama Papers revealed similar documents. It showed how hundreds of people set up businesses in tax havens in order to hide their money and pay fewer taxes.
- accuse = to believe that someone has done something wrong or illegal
- advisor = a person who helps you and gives you information because they know a lot about a certain subject
- aide = someone who helps a politician
- avoid = to prevent something from happening
- business = company
- celebrity = famous person
- chancellor = here: leader of the German government
- corporation = large company
- examine = to look at very closely
- financial transaction = here: money moves from one place to another
- headquarters = the main building or offices used by a large company
- individual = single person
- leak = to give secret information to a newspaper, TV station or journalists
- majority = most
- politician = person who works in politics, either for a government or a political party
- offshore = here: country in which you pay less tax than elsewhere
- offshore account = bank account in a country where you pay fewer taxes than in your home country
- oligarch = boss of a group of people who run a country or organisation
- reduce = lower
- reveal = show something that hasn’t been known before
- similar = almost the same
- tax = the money you must pay to the government based on your income
- tax burden = here: the amount of taxes you pay
- tax haven = country where people go to live in order to avoid paying high taxes in their own country
- tie = close relationship to
- various = different, several