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Paradise Islands: the main thing from the new archive of offshore documents 

Link Russian billionaires with contributions to Facebook, the investments of the former wife of the head of Rosneft and the private plane of Oleg Tinkov.

Mark Zuckerberg next to Yuri Milner, who became the person involved in the investigation of offshore companies. Getty Photos
Mark Zuckerberg next to Yuri Milner, who became the person involved in the investigation of offshore companies. Getty Photos

On April 3, 2016, a consortium of ICIJ journalists published a large-scale investigation of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. It provides services for the registration and maintenance of offshore companies. On November 5, 2017, investigators published the second installment of the archives of Bermuda law firm Appleby, entitled “Paradise Island Archives”. The report received such a name, as it contains data from the state registry of a large number of exotic islands.

The report consists of more than 13 million documents and covers the activities of 140 politicians from around the world. 96 publications and about 380 journalists were involved in the investigation. From the Russian editions Novaya Gazeta collaborated with ICIJ.

studied media publications on archives and compiled a selection of the main facts from the investigation.

Russian billionaires and American social networks

The investigation refers to the cooperation of billionaire Alisher Usmanov and technology sector investor Yuri Milner in 2008-2009. Usmanov, who at the time managed Gazprom Investholding, borrowed $ 920 million from the company. He invested the funds of the state-owned company in the Milner’s fund to purchase Facebook shares. A representative of Usmanov denied this information.

The report also shows that Milner used the funds of VTB Bank (has state participation) to invest $ 190 million in Twitter shares. The bank allegedly earned up to $ 240 million on this deal. The entrepreneur said that government structures had no influence on the activities of American companies, including Twitter.

Communication Trump administration with Russia

The documents speak about billionaire Wilbur Ross, who was appointed by the President of the United States Donald Trump as Secretary of Commerce. It turned out that the official owns the shipping company Navigator Holdings. One of its largest clients is the Russian gas company Sibur, whose shareholders include Gennady Timchenko (included in the US sanctions list) and the alleged son-in-law of Russian President Kirill Shamalov.

A spokesman for Ross said that he had never met with the Russian major shareholders of Sibur, and the company itself was not sanctioned. As noted byThe Bell, Ross did not violate American laws, but the documents found could harm Trump. In fact, the minister makes a profit from cooperation with a Russian company and manages foreign policy in the US administration.

Marina Sechina investment

In the investigation of journalists found the name of the former wife of the head of “Rosneft” Igor Sechin. According to researchers, in 2012 Appleby registered S Holdings Ltd in the Cayman Islands, the only beneficiary of which was Marina Sechina. Employees of an offshore company qualified a woman as a “politically significant person.”

The Sechin company was created in cooperation with the Austrian institution Meinl Bank to invest in the projects of businessman Julius Meinl (the eponymous coffee and tea producer named after a distant relative of the entrepreneur).

He bought distressed assets at a low price in Russia and Eastern Europe and resold. It is not known how much Sechin invested and received for her collaboration with Meinl. The former spouse of the head of Rosneft declined to comment. Julius Meinl and representatives of Meinl Bank also did not want to communicate with journalists.

Other Russian customers

As noted by Novaya Gazeta, Appleby did not manage to find active Russian officials in the documents. However, the documents refer to entrepreneur Roman Abramovich, who was having difficulty buying a stake in the Bermuda company Russia Forest Products due to hiding information on a criminal record in 1992. As a result, the purchase was made through the British Virgin Islands, where the false response of the businessman about criminal cases was not checked.

A separate list in Appleby is dedicated to the Russian owners of private jets. Businessmen Rotenberg brothers, businessman Oleg Tinkov and billionaire Oleg Deripaska turned to an offshore company to register a vehicle in order not to pay taxes in the European Union. The report mentions the wife of First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, Olga. A company that owns the private plane Bombardier Global Express is registered for it .

Foreign customers

Most of the company’s clients are from Western countries. In this number the Duchy of Lancaster, which deals with the personal income of the Queen of Great Britain Elizabeth II. If you believe the documents, some investments went to the company BrightHouse, which was once fined for tax violations. In total, the persons responsible for the contributions of Elizabeth II invested about $ 13 million in offshore companies. The Duchy has stated that it is not related to these investments.

The “Panama Papers” mentioned the name of the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, who, after his appointment as head of state, opened a company in the British Virgin Islands. Then the state leader explained that he had done this in order to transfer his confectionery company “Roshen” to supervised personsfor observation , as is customary among Western officials. However, new data , according to Ukrainian media, indicates that the main goal of the president was to minimize taxes.

The client of the offshore company was also a retired US Army general and former commander of NATO headquarters in Europe, Wesley Clark. He ran anonline gambling company that was associated with offshore companies. Another remarkable document tells about the vocalist of the U2 rock band Bono, who through a Maltese company acquired a shopping center in Lithuania.

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