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‘There You Have It’: McConnell Says He ‘Misspoke’ When He Promised No Tax Hike on Middle Class

New York Times analysis published Friday found that millions of middle class families would see their taxes rise under GOP plan

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) talks to reporters following the weekly Republican policy luncheon in the U.S. Capitol November 7, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Following the release of a slew of analyses showing that the GOP tax plan would raise taxes on many middle class families—despite repeated promises to the contrary by the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) conceded in an interview with the New York Times Friday that he “misspoke” when he declared last week that “nobody in the middle class is going to get a tax increase.”

“‘I misspoke’ is the thing you say when you can’t get away with lying anymore.”
—Judd Legum, ThinkProgress

“I misspoke on that,” McConnell told Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg‏. “You can’t guarantee that absolutely no one sees a tax increase, but what we are doing is targeting levels of income and looking at the average in those levels and the average will be tax relief for the average taxpayer in each of those segments.”

McConnell’s reversal on a talking point that has become a mainstay for Republicans over the last several months as they attempt to sell their tax proposals to a skeptical publiccomes just 24 hours after the Senate unveiled its own tax plan. Like the House version, the Senate bill calls for massive tax cuts for wealthy Americans and large corporations.

Times analysis published Friday found that while middle class Americans would fare better under the Senate’s plan than the House’s, “both bills would disproportionately benefit high earners and corporations and raise taxes on millions of middle class families.”

The analysis continued:

The Senate bill appears much better for the very wealthy than it is for the somewhat wealthy. About half of families earning between two and three times the median income—or about $160,000 to $240,000 for a family of three—would pay more in 2018 than under existing law. But among the richest families, those earning more than about $500,000 for a family of three, nearly 90 percent would get a tax cut.

McConnell’s insistence that he “misspoke” in confidently declaring that no one in the middle class would see their taxes rise under the GOP plan was immediately seized upon by critics who have long seen through Republicans’ characterization of their bill as pro-middle class.

“‘I misspoke’ is the thing you say when you can’t get away with lying anymore,” wrote Judd Legum of ThinkProgress.

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Bernie Sanders Explains His Plan to Fix a Broken Democratic Party

“At a time when we have a Republican president and Republican Party whose leadership and agenda are strongly opposed by the American people, now is the time for real change.”

It is “not acceptable” that “hundreds of millions of dollars flow in and out of the DNC with little to no accountability,” Sanders concluded. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)

Following a massive wave of progressive victories in elections throughout the U.S. earlier this week, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) argued in a Politico op-ed on Friday that the Democratic Party must embrace “fundamental reforms” and “welcome into its ranks millions of working people and young people” if it is to build on this grassroots momentum and overcome the “unprecedented crisis” posed by the Trump administration.

“Do you believe in open primaries, or do you not? Do you believe in transparency or not? Do you believe in keeping 700-plus superdelegates or not? Do you believe in letting people vote in caucuses who currently cannot?”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
Sanders’ plea for systemic change within the party that has been decimated at nearly every level of government over the past eight years comes just ahead of the final meeting of the DNC’s “Unity Reform Commission,” a group formed in the aftermath of the 2016 Democratic primary with the stated goal of “ensur[ing] that inclusivity is upheld in all things that we do.”

Some of the reforms Sanders says the commission “desperately” needs to consider during its December meeting if it is to have any hope of defeating Trump’s “agenda of the billionaire class” include:

  • Reducing the power of superdelegates, which currently have “the power to control the nominating process and ignore the will of voters”;
  • “Making voting easier, and not harder” by “ending the absurdity of closed primary systems” that lock out independent voters and fully embracing “universal and same-day voter registration”;
  • Developing a process that makes it easier for working people and students to participate in the voting process in states that use caucuses “even if they are not physically able to attend a caucus”; and
  • “Fully appreciat[ing] Donna Brazile’s revelations and understand the need for far more transparency in the financial and policy workings of the Democratic Party.” Brazile, Sanders wrote, “exposed the rot.”

The Democratic Party, Sanders argues, “cannot remain an institution largely dominated by the wealthy and inside-the-Beltway consultants” if it is to defeat Trump’s “reactionary agenda”—which includes massive tax breaks for the wealthy coupled with enormous cuts to life-saving social programs.

It is “not acceptable” that “hundreds of millions of dollars flow in and out of the DNC with little to no accountability,” Sanders writes. “At a time when we have a Republican president and Republican Party whose leadership and agenda are strongly opposed by the American people, now is the time for real change. It is critical that we come together and reform the Democratic Party. When we do that, we will win local, state, and national elections and transform our country.”

In addition to pressuring the Democrats to support his proposed reforms in op-eds and interviews with major news outlets, Sanders also began circulating a petition Thursdaycalling on DNC chair Tom Perez to work toward making the party “as open, as inclusive, and as progressive as it can possibly be.”

Sanders told the Washington Post that the petition had already garnered tens of thousands of signatures just hours after going live.

“Do you believe in open primaries, or do you not? Do you believe in transparency or not? Do you believe in keeping 700-plus superdelegates or not? Do you believe in letting people vote in caucuses who currently cannot?” Sanders said, outlining the basic questions underlying his proposed reforms. “Those are the issues.”

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Occupy/Black Lives Matter lawyer wins D.A. race in Philly!

The Jimmy Dore Show is a hilarious and irreverent take on news, politics and culture featuring Jimmy Dore, a professional stand up comedian, author and podcaster. With over 5 million downloads on iTunes, the show is also broadcast on KPFK stations throughout the country. It is part of the Young Turks Network– the largest online news show in the world.

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MON, 11/6/2017 – BY JULIETTE GARSIDE (Occupy.com)


The world’s biggest businesses, heads of state and global figures in politics, entertainment and sport who have sheltered their wealth in secretive tax havens are being revealed this week in a major new investigation into Britain’s offshore empires.

The details come from a leak of 13.4 million files that expose the global environments in which tax abuses can thrive – and the complex and seemingly artificial ways the wealthiest corporations can legally protect their wealth.

The material, which has come from two offshore service providers and the company registries of 19 tax havens, was obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with partners including the Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times.

The project has been called the Paradise Papers. It reveals:

  • Millions of pounds from the Queen’s private estate has been invested in a Cayman Islands fund – and some of her money went to a retailer accused of exploiting poor families and vulnerable people.
  • Extensive offshore dealings by Donald Trump’s cabinet members, advisers and donors, including substantial payments from a firm co-owned by Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law to the shipping group of the US commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross.
  • How Twitter and Facebook received hundreds of millions of dollars in investments that can be traced back to Russian state financial institutions.
  • The tax-avoiding Cayman Islands trust managed by the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau’s chief moneyman.
  • A previously unknown $450 million offshore trust that has sheltered the wealth of Lord Ashcroft.
  • Aggressive tax avoidance by multinational corporations, including Nike and Apple.
  • How some of the biggest names in the film and TV industries protect their wealth with an array of offshore schemes.
  • The billions in tax refunds by the Isle of Man and Malta to the owners of private jets and luxury yachts.
  • The secret loan and alliance used by the London-listed multinational Glencore in its efforts to secure lucrative mining rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • The complex offshore webs used by two Russian billionaires to buy stakes in Arsenal and Everton football clubs.

The disclosures will put pressure on world leaders, including Trump and the British prime minister, Theresa May, who have both pledged to curb aggressive tax avoidance schemes.

The publication of this investigation, for which more than 380 journalists have spent a year combing through data that stretches back 70 years, comes at a time of growing global income inequality.

Meanwhile, multinational companies are shifting a growing share of profits offshore – €600 billion in the last year alone – the leading economist Gabriel Zucman will reveal in a study to be published later this week.

“Tax havens are one of the key engines of the rise in global inequality,” he said. “As inequality rises, offshore tax evasion is becoming an elite sport.”

At the centre of the leak is Appleby, a law firm with outposts in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. In contrast to Mossack Fonseca, the discredited firm at the centre of last year’s Panama Papers investigation, Appleby prides itself on being a leading member of the “magic circle” of top-ranking offshore service providers.

It acted for the establishment offshore, providing the structures that helped to legally reduce their tax bills.

Appleby says it has investigated all the allegations, and found “there is no evidence of any wrongdoing, either on the part of ourselves or our clients”, adding: “We are a law firm which advises clients on legitimate and lawful ways to conduct their business. We do not tolerate illegal behaviour.”

Originally published by The Guardian

Paradise Papers, tax evasion, offshore accounts, Cayman Islands, rising inequality, global inequality, Donald Trump
Paradise Papers, tax evasion, offshore accounts, Cayman Islands, rising inequality, global inequality, Donald Trump
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THU, 11/9/2017 – BY AARON G. FOUNTAIN JR. (Occupy.com)

Last month, a high school student in Houston, Texas, sued her school district because school officials suspended her for refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. The principal of Windfern High School told 17-year-old India Landry that she could either stand for the Pledge or stay home. Landry later told the local the news station KHOU that she doesn’t think “the flag is what it says it’s for, for liberty and justice and all that.” In response, her family filed a civil lawsuit against the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District and Landry’s high school principal.

The debate over kneeling in the NFL during the National Anthem has spread to other institutions. But expelling students for sitting during the Pledge is in clear violation of the students’ civil liberties. Despite 70 years of legal precedents working in students’ favor, why do these cases keep happening?

One unfortunate reason for this déjà vu stems from educators’ and students’ lack of knowledge about student rights. George Washington University law professor Catherine Ross documented in her recent book, “Lessons in Censorship,” that educational training rarely informs educators about free speech. Even law schools that teach education law will rarely cover the topic. In this sense, many teachers and administrations in the nation’s schools are oblivious to the fact that students are entitled to constitutional rights to free speech so long as their actions do not disrupt regular school operations.

Even more understated, Landry’s case is reminiscent of long-forgotten controversies involving teenagers and the Pledge of Allegiance that occurred in the 1960s and 70s. Similar to Landry, junior high and high school students of that era asked for the right to sit silently during the Pledge because they objected to the phrase “liberty and justice for all.” These attitudes did not emerge in a vacuum. Similar to today’s protests coinciding with Black Lives Matter, the students a generation ago were in the midst of the anti-war, Black Power and women’s liberation movements.

Students’ clear position back then was that they could not, in good conscience, state a phrase they believed was hypocritical. To them, it belied the reality of discrimination faced by minority groups, poor people and women. Their actions thrust the Pledge into the national spotlight and led to several short-lived initiatives to change the wording to make the last phrase more aspirational.

There are no records showing how many times students sat as a form of protest because most incidents never made headlines. The several times when school officials suspended students for sitting during the Pledge, students filed lawsuits. The pupils prevailed, but even federal judges who sided with the students admitted that they privately opposed the students’ position. Under law, however, they recognized that the students were protected by the First Amendment.

In the midst of these controversies, students and government officials led national campaigns to amend the Pledge’s ending. One initiative created by a high school student, with support from her school principal and U.S. Sen. Jacob Javits, of New York, sought to reword “with liberty and justice for all” to “seeking liberty and justice for all.” Other initiatives were pushed by an article in Look magazine, former U.S. Education Commissioner James Allen, and attendees of the 1971 White House Conference on Children.

School officials today are no less ignorant about the law than school officials of the past. Federal courts repeatedly reaffirmed the notion of student rights during the 1960s and 70s, yet school administrators narrowly interpreted the law to justify their opposition. In a 2012 interview I did with Ira Glasser, the former executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Glasser told me that school officials constantly tried to bend the law.

“I actually had a case once in upstate New York where a principal suspended a kid for wearing a green armband, some kind of environmental thing,” he recalled. Glasser informed the principal about Tinker v. Des Moines, a 1969 Supreme Court case that established student rights after school officials in Des Moines, Iowa, suspended students for wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam War. Glasser continued, “The principal actually said to me that this case was different. I said, ‘Why?’ and he said, ‘Well, those are black armbands.’”

Luckily, non-education officials have noted that students are entitled to sit during the Pledge. Yet, all of these authors have overlooked the 60s and 70s, which have become more relevant to Landry’s case because it concerns a political objection rather than a religious one.

If history serves as a guide, Landry will win her Houston case decisively. The school district will have spent unnecessary tax dollars to uphold a decision that violated the student’s constitutional rights. If educators were informed about the history of such cases, this controversy could have been avoided. At the core of school officials’ objection is not that the student is disrupting school operations, but rather it’s school officials’ determination to have students do as they say.

A student at Klein Oak High School outside Houston who chose to withhold her name spoke to reporters last Wednesday about her protests of the Pledge of Allegiance and the school’s response. Credit KPRC-TV

A student at Klein Oak High School outside Houston who chose to withhold her name spoke to reporters last Wednesday about her protests of the Pledge of Allegiance and the school’s response.CreditKPRC-TV

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Lindsey Graham Latest Republican to Admit GOP Tax Plan Is All About Keeping ‘Financial Contributions’ of Donors Flowing

“Republicans are literally out here warning each other that their big donors will stop writing checks if they don’t do their bidding.”

As Common Dreams reported Tuesday, Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) has made a similar remark, complaining that his donors are pressuring him to pass enormous tax cuts or “don’t ever call me again.” (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday became the latest Republican to admit the GOP is trying to ram through massive tax cuts for the rich to satisfy its wealthy donors, telling a journalist that if the party’s tax push fails, “the financial contributions will stop.”

David Sirota, reporter with the International Business Times, responded by noting that it is both “laudably honest for Graham to admit this” and “a repulsive glimpse of how politicans see so many public policies as private financial transactions between them and their donors.”

“It’s nice to see Republicans in Congress looking out for the people who really matter: their wealthy donors.”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
Graham’s remarks came as Senate Republicans prepared to unveil their tax legislation which, like the House version, would deliver massive tax cuts to wealthy individuals and large corporations.

As Common Dreams reported Tuesday, Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) has made a similar comment recently, complaining that his donors are pressuring him to pass tax cuts or “don’t ever call me again.”

Critics had the same response to Graham as they did to Collins: “Dude, you’re not supposed to actually admit that out loud.”

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“‘Tsunami’ of Progressive Victories Delivers Massive Repudiation of Trumpism” by Jake Johnson

“They tried to take our healthcare, ban our neighbors, peddle bigotry, and steal for the one percent. Yesterday was the result. Just wait until 2018.”

Gov.-elect Ralph Northam links arms with current Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Lt. Gov.-elect Justin Fairfax, Attorney General-elect Mark Herring, and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) at an election night rally November 7, 2017 in Fairfax, Virginia. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Progressives had an opportunity to deliver a “massive repudiation of Donald Trump“—and of Trumpism more broadly—Tuesday night with gubernatorial and state legislature races taking place across the country Tuesday night, and they delivered in a big way.

“Inclusive, populist ideas are the way to win in 2018.”
—Ilya Sheyman, MoveOn.org

While it was the high-profile victory of Democrat Ralph Northam over the “unabashedly nativist” Trumpian candidate Ed Gillespie in the race for Virginia’s governorship—along with Democrat Phil Murphy’s win in New Jersey’s gubernatorial contest—that garnered the most media hype, it was the less prominent victories of progressives further down the ballot in Virginia and elsewhere that prompted analysts to characterize Tuesday night as an electoral “tsunami” that could have enormous implications for 2018 and beyond.

Some of the highlights of the night included:

  • Justin Fairfax, a 38-year-old former federal prosecutor, becoming the second everAfrican American to be elected lieutenant governor in Virginia, defeating a Republican opponent who openly embraced President Donald Trump;
  • Democrat Danica Roem ousting her right-wing anti-LGBTQ counterpart from Virginia’s House of Delegates, making her the state’s first openly transgender person to hold elective office;
  • Lee Carter, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, winning in Northern Virginia’s 50th District over his GOP opponent, despite losing the backing of the state Democratic Party; and
  • All seven Our Revolution-backed alderman candidates emerging victorious in Somerville, Massachusetts.

These victories—along with others in WashingtonGeorgiaPennsylvania, and elsewhere—provide concrete evidence that “running grassroots-fueled campaigns that embrace our nation’s diversity and inclusive, populist ideas are the way to win in 2018,” Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action, said in a statement after the results came in.

“It’s clear that Republicans are out of ideas and facing a growing wave of resistance going into 2018,” Sheyman concluded. “The Democratic base has been fired up by Trump’s and Republicans’ attacks on healthcare and so many American communities, and Democrats have a chance to win back the House and races up and down the ballot in 2018.”

“Progressives should aim big.”
—Lee Fang, The Intercept

Tuesday night’s “wave” of victories comes at an important moment for both the Democratic Party and grassroots progressives, who have for months been tirelessly organizing and canvassing in an effort to boost voter turnout and build a base of support that can carry over to the 2018 congressional elections.

Maria Urbina, political director of Indivisible, a progressive organization that has built over 180 active groups in Virginia, said that Tuesday’s wins “make one thing clear: A newly awakened grassroots movement is rising up to reject Trump’s politics of hate and reclaim political power.”

But as the Working Families Party (WFP) concluded on Twitter late Tuesday, it was not just Trump’s “politics of hate” voters rejected—it was the Republican agenda more broadly.

Exit polls indicated that healthcare was far and away the most important issue for Virginia voters, and the decisive Democratic victory signifies a massive rebuke of the GOP’s efforts to throw tens of millions of Americans off their health insurance.

“They tried to take our healthcare, ban our neighbors, peddle bigotry, and steal for the one percent,” WFP noted. “Yesterday was the result. Just wait until 2018.”

While many were quick to note that it is “premature to call the election a death knell for Trumpism,” MoveOn.org Washington director Ben Wikler expressed the hope that Tuesday’s gains—coming a year after Trump’s presidential win—will inspire others to run for office, adding to the size of a growing progressive wave.

“Hey everyone: if you’re thinking about making a long-shot run to challenge a Republican for office, let tonight be the kick in the pants you need,” Wikler wrote. “Go for it.”

Lee Fang, journalist at The Intercepturged progressives who do decide to run for office set their sights high.

“If the left tidal wave continues into 2018, which it probably will, it will be an extreme lost opportunity if there are no big transformative ballot initiatives on health care, taxes, labor, climate, criminal justice reform, and campaign finance,” Fang wrote. “Progressives should aim big.”

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The Paradise Papers

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From the ICIJ, the same consortium of journalists and media outlets that brought you Luxleaks and the Panama Papers, now comes the Paradise Papers. Everyone from Lewis Hamilton and Bono to Apple and Nike seem to pay less than their fair share – and this time, it’s all above board. The European Union has announced it’s going to draw up a tax haven blacklist. But it’s anyone’s guess if member states can agree on a definition of a tax haven and how they can enforce it.
Produced by Daniel BARNEY, Alessandro XENOS, Christopher DAVIS.

The Paradise Papers is a set of 13.4 million confidential electronic documents relating to offshore investment that were leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. The newspaper shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists,[1] and some of the details were made public on 5 November 2017. The documents originate from the offshore law firm Appleby, the corporate services providers Estera and Asiaciti Trust, and business registries in 19 tax jurisdictions.[2] They contain the names of more than 120,000 people and companies.[3] Among those whose financial affairs are mentioned are Queen Elizabeth II,[4] the President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos, and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.[5]


On 20 October 2017, an anonymous Reddit user hinted at the existence of the Paradise Papers.[6] Later that month, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) approached the offshore law firm Appleby with allegations of wrongdoing. Appleby said that some of its data had been stolen in a cyberattack the previous year, and denied ICIJ’s allegations.[7] After the documents were published, the company stated that there was “no evidence of wrongdoing”, that they “are a law firm which advises clients on legitimate and lawful ways to conduct their business”, and that they “do not tolerate illegal behaviour”.[8] Although press reports referred to the documents as being “leaked” Appleby issued a series of public statements insisting that the firm “was not the subject of a leak but of a serious criminal act”, and that “This was an illegal computer hack. Our systems were accessed by an intruder who deployed the tactics of a professional hacker”.[9]

The documents were acquired by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which had also obtained the Panama Papers in 2016. According to the BBC, the name “Paradise Papers” reflects “the idyllic profiles of many of the offshore jurisdictions whose workings are unveiled”—the so-called tax havens, or “tax paradises” involved.[2] The BBC also notes that the name “dovetails nicely with the French term for a tax haven – paradis fiscal“.[2] The data comprises some 13.4 million documents—totaling about 1.4 terabytes—from two offshore service providers, Appleby and Asiaciti Trust, and from the company registers of 19 tax havens.[10]Süddeutsche Zeitung journalists contacted the ICIJ, which has been investigating the documents with 100 media partners. The consortium made the data available to the media partners using Neo4j,[11] a graph database platform made for connected data, and Linkurious,[12] graph visualization software, allowing journalists across the globe to undertake collaborative investigative work. The documents were released by the consortium on 5 November 2017.[5][13]

Gavin St Pier, an elected Deputy of the tax haven Guernsey, stated that the “coverage was part of a well-orchestrated, ongoing campaign”.[14] He also averred that despite having the information since 2016, the timing of the release was deliberately delayed to coincide with the meeting of EU Finance Ministers ahead of the proposed discussion of a tax haven blacklist.[14]

Companies named

According to the papers, FacebookAppleUberNikeWalmartAllianzSiemensMcDonald’s, and Yahoo! are among the corporations that own offshore companies,[15][16] as well as Allergan, the manufacturer of Botox. According to The Express Tribune, “Apple, Nike, and Facebook avoided billions of dollars in tax using offshore companies.”[17] Apple issued a statement in response criticising the reports as inaccurate and misleading, stating that the company is the largest taxpayer in the world and that it “pays every dollar it owes in every country around the world”.[18]

Kremlin-owned firmVTB Bank, put $191 million into DST Global, an investment firm part of Mail.ru Group and founded by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, which used it to buy a large share of Twitter in 2011. A subsidiary of the Kremlin-controlled Gazprom funded an investment company that partnered with DST Global to buy shares in Facebook, reaping millions when the social media giant went public in 2012. Twitter similarly went public in 2013. The US government sanctioned VTB in 2014 because of the Russian military intervention in Crimea, but DST Global had sold its stake in Twitter by then. Four days after the Facebook IPO, a DST Global subsidiary sold more than 27 million shares of Facebook for roughly $1 billion.[19]

In 2009, Glencore, an Anglo–Swiss multinational commodity trading and mining company, loaned $45 million to Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler in exchange for his help with officials of the Democratic Republic of Congo in negotiations over a joint venture with state-owned Gécamines at the Katanga copper mine, in which one of the board members was Glencore major shareholder Telis Mistakidis. Glencore, which had effectively taken over Katanga, agreed to vote for the joint venture. The loan document specifically provided that repayment would be owed if agreement was not reached within three months. Gertler and Glencore have denied wrongdoing. Appleby had worked for Glencore and its founder Marc Rich on major projects in the past, even after his indictement in 1983.[20][21] Rich was indicted in the United States on federal charges of tax evasion and making controversial oil deals with Iran during the Iran hostage crisis.[22] He received a controversial presidential pardonfrom U.S. President Bill Clinton on January 20, 2001, Clinton’s last day in office.[23]

The Australian branch of Glencore has been demonstrated to have carried out some $25 billion in cross-currency interest rate swaps, complex financial instruments the Australian Taxation Office suspects of being used to avoid paying taxes in Australia.[24]

Appleby managed 17 offshore companies for Odebrecht, a Brazilian conglomerate, and at least one of them was used as a vehicle for the payment of bribes in the Operation Car Wash. Some of these offshore companies are publicly known to operate for Odebrecht in Africa and be involved in bribes. Among those involved in the operation who also are named in the papers are Marcelo Odebrecht, Brazilian businessman and former Odebrech’s CEO, his father Emílio Odebrecht and his brother Maurício Odebrecht.[25]

People named



Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is listed in the Paradise Papers

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is listed in the papers as a director of the Bermuda company Songhai Financial Holdings Ltd. a subsidiary of Databank’s finance, fund management and investment company Databank Brokerage Ltd., from April 2001 until September 2012.[26] Ghanaian Minister for Finance and Economic Planning Ken Ofori-Atta, was a co-founder of Databank and a co-director, with Johnson Sirleaf, of Songhai Financial Holdings.


President of the Nigerian Senate Bukola Saraki is listed in the papers as a director and a shareholder of Tenia Ltd., a company established in the Cayman Islands in April 2001.[27]


Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa is listed as beneficiary, along with his daughter, of a trust which holds the Seychelles-based Katonga Investments Ltd. Katonga gave as its source of income Enhas Uganda, another Kutesa-owned company criticized in a parliamentary committee as part of a privatization it said had been “manipulated and taken advantage of by a few politically powerful people who sacrifice the people’s interests”.[28] Kutesa was also president of the United Nations General Assembly in 2014–2015.



Actor Amitabh Bachchanis listed in Paradise Papers

India ranks 19th out of the 180 countries represented in the data in terms of the number of names. In all, there are 714 Indians in the tally, including the names of several political leaders. Among them are Jayant Sinha, member of the Lok Sabha and Minister of State for Civil Aviation[29]Ravindra Kishore Sinha, member of the Rajya Sabha[30], former Minister of Corporate Affairs Sachin Pilot, former Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot, former Minister of Science and Technology Vayalar Ravi‘s son[who?],[31] the Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, the son of former Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Veerappa Moily[who?] and Rajya Sabha MP Ravindra Kishore Sinha.[32] Others named are Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan (as a shareholder in a Bermuda-based digital media company) and former Member of Parliament of the Rajya Sabha Vijay Mallya, son of businessman Vittal Mallya. The papers revealed that Mallya sold United Spirits to Diageo in 2013, which it later approached London-based law firm Linklaters to restructuring the group structure created by Mallya. With three other subsidiaries based in the UK, United Spirits was allegedly involved with diverting funds amounting to $1.5 billion. Bachchan and Mallyain also appeared in the Panama Papers.[33]

Among the companies listed in the papers are Apollo Tyres, the Essel Group,[34] D S Construction, Emaar MGFGMR GroupHavellsHinduja Group, the Hiranandani Group, Jindal Steel, the Sun Group[35] and Videocon.[36]


Two children of deceased former president SuhartoTommy and Mamiek in addition to opposition party leader Prabowo Subianto (Suharto’s former son-in-law) are listed in the papers. Following the release, the Directorate General of Taxes released a statement that they will follow up the information provided on Indonesian taxpayers.[37]


Former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama

Former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is listed in the papers.[38] The Bermuda-incorporated company, Hoifu Energy Group, is listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong and appointed Hatoyama honorary chairman in 2013 because of his “amicable relationship” with the oil industry, a sector in which Hoifu planned to expand. The principal shareholder of the company was Hui Chi Ming. Neil Bush, brother of George W. Bush, was a director (deputy chairman) of the company.[28][39]


Former Minister of Oil and Gas Sauat Mynbayev is listed as an original shareholder of Meridian Capital Ltd.[40]


Former Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz

From Pakistan, former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz is listed in the papers, having set up a trust called the Antarctic Trust owned by a Delaware corporation.[41] Aziz, a former Citibank executive, told the ICIJ he had set the trust up for estate planningpurposes and that the funds had come from his employment at Citibank. An internal Appleby document raised concerns about warrants issued for him in connection with the killing of a local leader. Aziz dismissed both the murder charge and the allegations of financial impropriety.[28]



Alfred Gusenbauer was head of the Social Democratic Party of Austria from 2000 to 2008 and Austria’s chancellor from January 2007 to December 2008. He is listed as a director for Novia Management, a Maltese company listed as a shareholder in Novia Funds Sicav Plc, also Malta-based, which includes among its other shareholders Tal Silberstein (de), who was arrested in 2017 with Beny Steinmetzon charges of money laundering, then released. Silberstein had served as Gusenbauer’s campaign advisor.[28]


The French filmmaker Jean-Jacques Annaud is listed in the papers. As a result of the investigation, the filmmaker informed French tax authorities last month about his offshore holdings.[42]


Bono is named in the papers

A great deal of intangible property surfaced in Ireland around the time of an internal Apple Inc. reorganization of three Irish subsidiaries. The 2015 gross domestic product showed a 26% increase, and close to $270 billion of intangible assets suddenly appeared in Ireland as the year began – more than the entire value of all residential property in Ireland. This is believed to indicate that Apple has taken advantage of a tax incentive known as a capital allowance, which gives Irish companies generous tax breaks for buying intangible property. Following a US Senate investigation which featured testimony by Tim Cook, Ireland announced that henceforth Irish companies would be required to declare tax residency someplace in the world. Several US multinationals, including Apple subsidiaries, had taken the position that they did not owe taxes anywhere in the world. Apple’s law firm, Baker McKenzie, researched island tax havens, asking Appleby officials in numerous jurisdictions to confirm “that an Irish company can conduct management activities … without being subject to taxation in your jurisdiction.” Two of the subsidiaries moved to Jersey. Apple is being sued for $14.5 billion in back taxes, following a finding by European regulators that Ireland illegally provided state aid when it approved Apple’s tax structure. Irish companies are required to pay taxes in Ireland, but if they convince authorities that they are “managed and controlled” from abroad, the companies may win an exemption. Apple now holds $252 billion offshore.[43]

U2 lead singer Bono is listed in the papers[44] as an investor in a Lithuanian shopping centre via a Malta-based company.[45]


Mareva Grabowski, wife of Kyriakos Mitsotakis leader of the opposition and president of New Democracy, is listed on the Paradise Papers. She is the shareholder of 50% of an offshore company Eternia Capital Management in Cayman Islands, in the Caribbeans. This entry is verified from the law-firm Appleby and on the Cayman records on 30 March 2010.[46]


Antanas Guoga, a Member of the European Parliament, is named in the papers.[47]


Ana Kolarević, sister of the former Montenegrin Prime Minister and President Milo Đukanović, who was in power from 1991 to 2016, is listed in the Paradise Papers.[48]


Appleby documents detail how Nike boosted its after-tax profits by, among other maneuvers, transferring ownership of its Swoosh trademark to a Bermudan subsidiary, Nike International Ltd. This transfer allowed the subsidiary to charge royalties to its European headquarters in Hilversum, effectively converting taxable company profitsto an account payable in tax-free Bermuda.[49] Although the subsidiary was effectively run by executives at Nike’s main offices in Beaverton, Oregon – to the point where a duplicate of the Bermudan company’s seal was needed – for tax purposes the subsidiary was treated as Bermuda. Its profits were not declared in Europe and came to light only because of a mostly unrelated case in US Tax Court, where papers filed by Nike briefly mention royalties in 2010, 2011 and 2012 totaling $3.86 billion.[49] Under an arrangement with Dutch authorities, the tax break was to expire in 2014, so another reorganization transferred the intellectual property from the Bermudan company to a Dutch commanditaire vennootschap or limited partnership, Nike Innovate CV. Dutch law treats income earned by a CV as if it had been earned by the principals, who owe no tax in the Netherlands if they do not reside there. One in six dollars of foreign profit earned by US multinationals was earned, at least on paper, through a Dutch CV subsidiary. Companies involved include Tesla, NetApp and Uber.[49]


In Spain, the first political authority that appears is the former mayor of Barcelona and current councilor, Xavier Trias,[50] artist José María Cano and billionaire Daniel Maté.[51] The businessman Juan Villalonga, who was CEO of Telefónica between 1996 and 2000, registered two companies in tax havens.[52]


Quantum Global Group, an investment bank owned by Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, managed the Angolan wealth fund invested in seven investment funds in Mauritius and received an annual fee of 2 percent to 2.5 percent of capital under management per year.[53]

United Kingdom

The Paradise Papers show that the Duchy of Lancaster, a private estate of Queen Elizabeth II, held investments in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.[1]
The Paradise Papers also show that the Duchy of Cornwall, a possession of Prince Charles, invested in a Bermuda-based carbon credits trading company.[54]

Lord Sassoon president of the international Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering

The papers show that the Duchy of Lancaster, a private estate of Queen Elizabeth II, held investments in two offshore financial centres, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. Both are British Overseas Territories of which she is also the monarch, and for which she appoints governors. Britain handles foreign policy for both islands to a large extent, but Bermuda has been self-governing since 1620. The Duchy’s investments included First Quench Retailing off-licences and rent-to-own retailer BrightHouse.[55] Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn asked whether the Queen should apologize, saying anyone with money offshore for tax avoidance should “not just apologise for it, [but] recognise what it does to our society”. A spokesman for the Duchy said that all of their investments are audited and legitimate and that the Queen voluntarily pays taxes on income she receives from Duchy investments.[56]

The papers also show that in June 2007, the Duchy of Cornwall, a possession of Prince Charles, invested $113,500 via in Sustainable Forestry Management.[54] a Bermuda-based carbon credits trading company run by Hugh van Cutsem.[57] Four weeks after the Duchy of Cornwall purchased shares in Sustainable Forestry Management, Prince Charles made a speech criticising the European Union Emission Trading Scheme and the Kyoto Protocol for excluding carbon credits from rainforests, and called for change.[58]

James Meyer Sassoon, the 2007 president of the international Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering,[28][59]said that his $236 million trust[60] revealed in the papers had been established years before by his grandmother with funds that had not been earned in the UK and therefore were not subject to tax there. He said he had first disclosed the trust when he joined the Treasury in 2002, where he was Commercial Secretary from 2010 to 2013.

An article published by the ICIJ detailing the use of ambiguous VAT policies on the Isle of Man highlights the $27 million Bombardier Challenger 605 private jet that Lewis Hamilton registered there, apparently in order to become eligible for a $5.2 million VAT refund.[61]

The BBC also noted questions about investments by Conservative Party donor Michael Ashcroft and Farhad Moshiri, owner of Everton Football Club.[56]


Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is named in the papers.[62]

Middle East


Queen Noor of Jordan is listed in the papers as the beneficiary of two trusts registered in Jersey.[63] One of the trusts, the Valentine 1997 Trust, was valued at more than $40 million in 2015, and its income is to be paid to the queen during her lifetime. The trust also owns property in southern England adjacent to Buckhurst Park, Sussex. The other trust, the Brown Discretionary Settlement, is the beneficial owner of a Jersey-incorporated investment holding company with assets worth c. $18.7 million in 2015.


Jonathan Kolber, former CEO of Koor Industries and the beneficiary of the Kolber Trust and son of Canadian senator Leo Kolber, who set the fund in 1991, is named.[64]

Dan Gertler, Israeli billionaire businessman in natural resources and the founder and President of the DGI (Dan Gertler International) Group of Companies appears in 120 documents regarding his relationship with Glencore.[64]

Saudi Arabia

Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a former deputy minister of defense for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is given as the owner of at least eight companies in Bermuda between 1989 and 2014, some of them apparently formed for purposes of owning yachts and airplanes.[28]


Rami Makhlouf, reportedly Syria’s wealthiest man, is listed in the papers.[65]


The sons of Turkey‘s Prime Minister, Binali Yıldırım, are listed in the papers.[66]

North America


Former Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chrétien

Three former Canadian Prime Ministers are named in the Paradise Papers: Jean ChrétienPaul Martin, and Brian Mulroney.[67]According to the papers, Stephen Bronfman, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s adviser and close friend, a Liberal Party fundraiser credited with putting Trudeau into office, moved millions of dollars offshore for former Liberal Party Senator Leo Kolber.[68]The offshore maneuvers may have avoided taxes in Canada, the United States and Israel, according to experts who reviewed some of the 3,000-plus files detailing the trust’s activities.[1]

Costa Rica

Former president José María Figueres sat on the board of energy company Energia Global International, along with his brother and Timothy Phillips. The company was bought in 2001 by Enel SpA, an Italian power company, for $73 million, plus $37 million in debt cancellation. Figueres resigned from the board that year, at the annual EF meeting in Davos. He was also CEO of World Economic Forum from 2000 to 2004, and resigned as a result of allegations he called “unfounded” about $900,000 in consulting fees from a French telecommunications firm.[28]


According to the files, trade union leader and politician Joaquín Gamboa Pascoe had investments worth $15.5 million; other mentioned politicians are Pedro Aspe ArmellaAlejandro Gertz Manero, and officials from PEMEX. High-profile Mexicans in the files include billionaire Carlos Slim,[69] priest Marcial Maciel known as “the greatest fundraiser of the modern Roman Catholic church”,[69] and Ricardo Salinas Pliego.[69] In an interview with Proceso, Gertz Manero, formerly National Security Secretary, denied all knowledge of the company, of which he was vice-president, and which was started by his brother, who had made himself president.[28]

United States

The leaked documents revealed that Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross holds stakes in businesses connected to sanctioned Russian oligarchs, which he did not disclose during his confirmation hearings.

According to the papers, United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross holds stakes in businesses which deal with Russian oligarchs Leonid Mikhelson and Gennady Timchenko who are subject to U.S. sanctions,[5] as well as Russian president Vladimir Putin‘s son-in-law, Kirill Shamalov.[70] Other members of the Trump Administration that appear in the documents include United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Director of the National Economic Council Gary D. Cohn.[70] Overall, more than a dozen Trump cabinet members, major donors and advisers appear in the documents. These include major donors Robert Mercer and Sheldon Adelson.[1][71]

The documents also revealed that Russian state organizations with ties to Putin pursued between 2009 and 2011 large investments in Facebook and Twitter via an intermediary—Russian-American entrepreneur Yuri Milner, who befriended Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg[72] and was a business associate of Jared KushnerPresident Donald Trump‘s son-in-law.[73]

American singer Madonna, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, American billionaire George Soros, founder of Open Society Foundations,[74] and former NATO supreme commander in Europe General Wesley Clark are also named in the papers.[75]

Commenting on the Paradise Papers leak, United States Senator and 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders warned of “rapid movement toward international oligarchy”, saying, “The Paradise Papers shows how these billionaires and multinational corporations get richer by hiding their wealth and profits and avoid paying their fair share of taxes.”[76] The Democratic leader in the US Senate, Chuck Schumer, and the ranking Democratic member of the Senate finance committee, Ron Wyden, issued a joint statement accusing Republicans of “pushing a reform of the tax code that fails to close egregious loopholes revealed by the leaks.”[76]

More at:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradise_Papers

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