Bono is ‘distressed’ about leaked Paradise Papers

What are the Paradise Papers?

More than 13 million leaked secret corporate files, about half of which belong to offshore law and corporate services provider Appleby, which has ten offices around the globe.

There also documents from corporate registries in 19 tax havens. These are mostly Caribbean and Atlantic islands such as Bermuda, Grenada and the Bahamas, but also include Malta, Lebanon, Labuan (an island territory in Malaysia), Samoa, Vanuatu, the Cook Islands and the Marshall Islands. They cover the period between 1950 and 2016.

Is this the same as the Panama Papers?

The Panama Papers involved millions of files leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, showing how some of their clients laundered money, dodged sanctions and avoided tax.

This is a separate leak, although will raise many of the same questions.

Who got the documents, and how?

The German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung obtained the files and shared them with 95 other media organisations around the world.

In all, 381 journalists in 67 countries have been analysing the material for one year. Suddeutsche Zeitung has not revealed its source.

What do the leaks contain?

Documents outlining the tax and financial affairs of hundreds of people and companies connected to Appleby and the 19 tax havens, with many appearing to have invested or sheltered huge amounts of cash in offshore tax havens.

Who do they involve?

Multinational companies, wealthy individuals, heads of state, politicians and sports stars from around the world, including many from the UK.

Some of the biggest names to emerge so far include the Queen, Facebook and Donald Trump’s cabinet members and advisers.

Why is it controversial to put money offshore?

Offshore tax havens typically offer low or zero tax rates to non-residents who keep money there.

Experts estimate that around $10 trillion (£7.6 trillion) is held offshore around the world.

That money would potentially otherwise be taxed in the owner’s home country, meaning governments are potentially missing out on billions in revenue.

Critics also say the secrecy makes it easy for companies to hide wrongdoing.

Will this cause a row about tax avoidance?

Further evidence of the extent of cash being held in tax havens is certain to spur anger and calls for a crackdown on tax avoidance practices.

However, recent leaks including the Panama Papers may have created a certain level of ‘leak fatigue’, denting the documents’ impact.