Released November 5, 2017, A “leak of millions of offshore financial documents from the Bermuda law firm Appleby obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and its global network of media partners. They represent the inner workings of Appleby from the 1950s until 2016. The files include documents from Appleby’s corporate services division, which became independent in 2016 under the name Estera.” ICIJ.org
The leaked files showed a chain of companies and partnerships in the Cayman Islands
“The Süddeutsche Zeitung obtained close to 13.4 million documents. They demonstrate how some clients use offshore companies to mask criminal activity or conceal money from dubious sources. The documents, for instance, expose previously unknown links between a secretary in U.S. President Donald Trump’s cabinet and Russian oligarchs. In fact, information on more than a dozen of Trump’s advisers, cabinet members and major donors can be found in the leaked data.”
“The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and 95 media partners explored 13.4 million leaked files from a combination of offshore service providers and the company registries of some of the world’s most secretive countries. The Paradise Papers documents include nearly 7 million loan agreements, financial statements, emails, trust deeds and other paperwork from nearly 50 years at Appleby, a leading offshore law firm with offices in Bermuda and beyond.” ICIJ.org
UK, US, El Salvador, Lithuania, India, Kazakhstan, Brazil, Zambia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Syria, Colombia, Liberia, Turkey, Jordan, Ukraine, Argenitina, Georgia, Iceland, Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Abu Dhabi, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Australia, China, Russia, Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, Ghana, Malaysia, Mexico, Spain, Cote D’Ivoire, South Africa, Guinea, Palestine, Ecuador, Greece, DR Congo, Kazakhstan, Panama, Peru, Algeria, Angola, Cambodia, France, Malta, Hungary, Kenya, Poland, Venezuela, Chile, Botswana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Zambia, Italy, Honduras, Bogota, Senegal, Montenegro, Austria, Uganda, Costa Rica, Canada, Japan, Lithuania, India,
Records leaked from an offshore law firm show how the wealthy elite sidestep
prohibitions on foreigners registering private planes in the United States.
“SALT LAKE CITY — Bank of Utah has that all-American feel. Founded in the 1950s by a veteran of both world wars, it offers affordable mortgages and savings accounts, sponsors children’s festivals and collects coats for the poor.
But in addition to its mom-and-pop customers, the bank has a lesser-known clientele that includes Russia’s richest oligarch, Leonid Mikhelson, an ally of the country’s president, Vladimir V. Putin. The bank served as a stand-in so Mr. Mikhelson could secretly register a private jet in the United States, which requires American citizenship or residency.
The work on behalf of Mr. Mikhelson, whose gas company is under United States sanctions, is part of a discreet niche business for Bank of Utah that allows wealthy foreigners to legally obtain American registrations for their aircraft while shielding their identities from public view. The bank does this through trust accounts, in its own name, that take the place of owners on plane registration records.
Still, the Bank of Utah executives were surprised to learn that they had aided Mr. Mikhelson, the Russian oligarch. When told the name of the offshore shell company that Mr. Mikhelson used to manage his Gulfstream jet, Mr. Croasmun interrupted the interview to check the bank’s files. He confirmed that the shell company had been a client since 2013 — but information identifying Mr. Mikhelson as the man behind it “was nowhere that I saw in the files.”
According to a flow chart created by Appleby’s Isle of Man office for the Mikhelson account, the ownership chain for his jet began in Panama, with a company called Golden Star Aviation, which registered on the Isle of Man and then leased the aircraft to a Cayman Islands company called SWGI Growth Fund. Both companies were controlled by Mr. Mikhelson.
A due-diligence report by Appleby noted Mr. Mikhelson’s source of wealth — valued currently at about $18 billion — from oil and gas investments, notably through Novatek, Russia’s largest nongovernment-owned gas company. Mr. Mikhelson’s main business partner is Gennady Timchenko, a close friend of Mr. Putin’s. The two businessmen are the primary investors in Sibur, a Russian gas-processing company.”