‘Paradise Papers’: U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross hid Russian interest

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More than 13 million financial documents have been stolen from a firm in Bermuda, showing that U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has a stake in a firm dealing with a company led by people tied to Russia’s leadership.

The documents were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung last year and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which coordinated an investigation in cooperation with 97 media organizations around the world.

The documents reveal how politicians, multinationals, celebrities and high-net-worth individuals protect their cash from tax officials or hide their dealings behind a veil of secrecy by using complex structures of trusts, foundations and shell companies, the BBC reports.

The documents involve more than 120 politicians and world leaders.

Among the findings is how U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has a stake in a firm dealing with Russians sanctioned by the U.S. government. Some aspects of his financial holdings were not disclosed during his confirmation process in the U.S. Senate.

The documents show that Ross has retained an interest in shipping company Navigator Holdings, which was partially owned by his former investment company. One of Navigator’s most important business clients is with a Russian energy firm controlled, in turn, by Putin’s son-in-law, according to NBC News.

Other documents show that a key aide to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is linked to offshore schemes that may have cost the nation millions of dollars in taxes, the BBC reported. And some of Queen Elizabeth II’s private money was invested offshore, although the investments are not illegal.

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