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Panama Papers redux may show how firms, wealthy skirt taxes

Nov 05 2017 20:12
Alan Katz, Bloomberg

Paris - A year after the Panama Papers, a new set of data taken from another offshore law firm could expose the hidden wealth of individuals and show how corporations, hedge funds and others may have skirted taxes.

The revelations are to be published beginning Sunday, just as US lawmakers are poised to debate a tax reform plan that calls for slashing the corporate rate. It also comes at a delicate time in the UK, where Theresa May’s government is engulfed in a sexual harassment scandal and consumed by Brexit negotiations.

The news comes out of an investigation led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which was provided data collected in an alleged hack in 2016 of Appleby Global Group Services, a Bermuda firm providing legal services for hedge fund managers and corporations.

Reporters working with the ICIJ, which was also behind the release of the Panama Papers, are reviewing the millions of pages of documents that reveal strategies used to hide assets and avoid taxes. The ICIJ are calling the next chapter of papers, the Paradise Papers.

Bloomberg hasn’t seen the leaked documents.

Among the individuals and companies expected to be cited in the articles are Glencore, which could face renewed scrutiny of its business in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Also expected to be included is Yuri Milner, an early backer of Facebook who partnered in two investments with the Russian state-controlled bank VTB Bank PJSC before it was sanctioned and who later invested in Cadre, a real-estate investing platform co-founded and partially owned by the family of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser.

Milner’s spokesperson said that VTB played no part in his Cadre investment, which was done solely on the business merits of Cadre.

Appleby has said its data was breached and that it investigated issues raised by journalists and found no evidence of wrongdoing. A spokesperson for Glencore declined to comment; Peter Grauer, the chairperson of Bloomberg, is a senior independent non-executive director at Glencore.

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