As details emerge about the Paradise Papers, the biggest names to come out of the leaks include Queen Elizabeth II of England, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, former Nato supreme commander in Europe Gen Wesley Clark, Queen Noor of Jordan, the founders of Microsoft and Ebay, and music legends Madonna and Bono.
It was also learnt that companies such as Apple, Nike, and Facebook avoided billions of dollars in tax under the pretext of offshore companies.
On Ross in particular, ICIJ and New York Times report that after becoming commerce secretary, he retained investments in a shipping firm he once controlled. The firm has significant business ties to a Russian oligarch, subject to American sanctions and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law Kirill Shamalov.
Navigator Holdings earns millions of dollars a year by transporting gas for Russian energy giant Sibur, whose owners include oligarch Gennady Timchenko and Shamalov. Despite selling off numerous other holdings to join the Trump administration, billionaire Ross kept an investment in Navigator, which increased its business dealings with Sibur even as the West sought to punish Russia’s energy sector over Putin’s incursions into Ukraine.
The files also contain references to Gary Cohn, Trump’s chief economic adviser who was associated with 22 Bermuda entities while an executive at Goldman Sachs. Secretary of State Tillerson was the director of a Bermuda-based joint venture with the government of Yemen while he was working for Exxon Mobil.