The law firm Appleby is one of the market leaders for investments in offshore businesses, with 100 million dollars annual revenue, 470 employees and offices in almost every major tax haven. The company was set up in Bermuda and its list of customers includes the names of more than 120,000 people from 50 countries, including princesses, prime ministers and Hollywood stars, as well as some of the richest oligarchs in the world, from Russia, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
The firm is now beneath the spotlight following the revelations unveiled by the Paradise Papers – a set of 13.4 million documents relating to offshore investment, leaked to the public on 5 November 2017.
According to Suddeutsche Zeitung, the papers show how some clients use mailbox companies to cover up criminal behavior or hide money obtained illegally. The papers also reveal the previously unknown connections of senior American government officials with Russian oligarchs. In total, more than 12 Trump administration advisers, Cabinet members or major donors are included in the list.
The newspaper claimed that the documents prove that giant companies such as Nike, Apple, Uber or Facebook reduce their taxes to ridiculously low rates, reveal offshore assets owned by Queen Elizabeth, the rock star Bono, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in tax havens. They also reveal how political elites use this secret world: more than 120 politicians from nearly 50 countries are involved in one way or another.