Super-rich offshore tax havens revealed... Gunman opens fire on church congregation... Carles Puigdemont walks free in Belgium, for now
06 Noviembre 2017 13:00
One rule for all, another for ultra-rich - A bombshell data leak, dubbed as the Paradise Papers, has revealed how some of the world’s wealthiest people and businesses use ethically-questionable means to hide their fortunes. Some 13 million files from two offshore service providers of 19 tax havens - that implicate the Queen of England, Donald Trump’s cabinet members, and U2’s Bono, among others - were obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with a number of media partners. Some of the most notable revelations include the Queen’s estate investing in a Cayman Islands fund; the shipping group of Trump commerce secretary Wilbur Ross receiving payments from a firm co-owned by Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law; a close adviser of Canadian leader Justin Trudeau moving millions offshore; and Bono using a Malta-based firm to buy a shopping centre in Lithuania.
Why does it matter?
Once again, 18 months after the Panama Papers leak, a spotlight is on tax avoidance by the super-rich. It’s important to note that offshore schemes are entirely legal. But they are under increasing scrutiny because these exposées shed light on the ways politicians and high-net worth figures use complex structures of trusts, foundations and companies to protect their wealth from high taxation, often through highly secretive means. Therefore, although they are currently legal, these findings are likely to - and have - angered many. The Paradise Papers illuminate the lengths individuals and corporations will go to to keep their cash instead of contributing to social welfare and the state. In the UK, Labour Party leader and socialist Jeremy Corbyn said there was ‘one rule for the rich and another for the rest’. Financial loopholes have been plaguing politicians across the world since the Panama Papers, and this latest leak will bring a tsunami of criticism to those implicated.
Church shooting rattles Texas - A gunman has killed 26 people and injured 20 after opening fire in a church in a quiet, rural part of Texas. Former air force serviceman 26-year-old Devin Kelley began shooting congregation members outside First Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, near San Antonio, at 11.20am on Sunday morning, before entering the church to continue his rampage. The victims were aged between five and 72, local police said. Although a man tackled the attacker as he left the church, he managed to flee in his car. He was later found dead in the vehicle, although the cause of death is unclear currently. The US is once again mourning a cowardly and needless mass shooting as a result of relaxed, almost non-existent, gun laws. Campaigners are lobbying for a ban on all firearms, given the wide availability throughout the country.
Catalan leader released - Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has been released from custody by a judge in Belgium, alongside four of his ministers, after a 10-hour hearing on Sunday. The leader fled to Belgium after a clash with Madrid’s central government over a disputed referendum on Catalan independence in October. Puigdemont is wanted in Spain for misuse of public funds, disobedience and breach of trust. He turned himself into Belgian police, but was released before a further court ruling on whether Belgium will enact the European arrest warrant issued by Spain.
Saudi’s royal purge unsettles elites - Saudi Arabia’s leadership has made its boldest step towards consolidating power around its heir to the throne, crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, by arresting 11 senior princes, one of the country’s richest men, and dozens of former ministers. The move is being called a corruption purge. Saturday’s purge – ordered by royal decree from King Salman – was carried out on a larger scale than anything seen in recent years, targeting figures previously thought of as immune. People close to the crown prince say the recent uprooting of power aims to reshape how business is dealt with in the kingdom, but critics say it is a barefaced attempt at stamping out opposition.
Sex, lies and scandal in Westminster - British secretary of state Damian Green has unequivocally denied allegations that ‘extreme’ pornographic material was found on his work computer in 2008. The story, which first appeared in The Sunday Times, carried accusations from former Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick that the material was discovered during a police investigation into government leaks. ‘The allegations about the material and computer, now nine years old, are false, disreputable political smears from a discredited police officer acting in flagrant breach of his duty to keep the details of police investigations confidential, and amount to little more than an unscrupulous character assassination,’ Green said in a statement published on Twitter.