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The Paradise Papers: What Are They and Why Do They Matter?

Posted in Hot Topics, Offshore Account Update on November 29, 2017

In recent years, there have been several major leaks of data related to offshore financial accounts. The Paradise Papers is the fifth major leak. The Paradise Papers contain more than 1,400 gigabytes of data, including an estimated 13.4 million documents that expose insider details about the world of offshore banking.  An estimated 6.8 million of the leaked documents come from Appleby, which is a law firm that provides assistance to individuals and businesses in setting up offshore companies and registering those organizations.

Because there have been so many leaks of financial information, anyone with an offshore account should be very concerned about their financial information becoming public knowledge. Those with offshore accounts who are not in full compliance with tax laws should talk with a Washington D.C. international tax attorney as soon as possible about what steps can be taken to come back into compliance while minimizing or avoiding fees or penalties. 

Consequences are often worse once tax authorities already have account information, so taking preemptive action can be the best option as ever-increasing amounts of data about offshore accounts is revealed. 

What Information is Contained in the Paradise Papers?

The Paradise Papers contain detailed information about offshore financial accounts as well as corporate registries from 19 different jurisdictions.  Records about corporate entities, business leaders, politicians and celebrities were among the 13.4 million records that were passed on to a German newspaper. The German newspaper shared the documents with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which has been involved in conducting a comprehensive investigation of the financial documents and the information contained within them.

The scale of information in the Paradise Papers is being described as “unprecedented,” as the information within the documents goes much deeper than the information from the Panama Papers even though the Panama Papers was a larger leak in size. 

There are more than 100 media partners who are combing through the records from the Paradise Papers.  The records contain information on more than 31,000 clients with U.S. addresses as well as an additional 14,000 records from UK addresses and 12,000 records form addresses in Bermuda. There are seven decades of financial records found within the documents, with the records spanning the time period from 1950 to 2016.

Numerous famous names have been identified within the records already, including Prince Charles and a top advisor to President Trump.  Of course, not all of the accountholders were politicians or big named celebrities. Many average accountholders are also caught up in the leak and their released financial information could be used by taxing authorities to conduct an investigation into their offshore investments and to determine if tax evasion has occurred.

Kevin Thorn, a Washington D.C. international tax attorney, should be consulted for help by anyone concerned that his or her information has been leaked or could be part of a future leak. You should take action now if you have offshore accounts and you fear that you may find yourself facing potential legal trouble for tax evasion if your financial records are made public or are made accessible to taxing authorities. Learn more today about your legal options, including participation in the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). Contact attorney Kevin E. Thorn, Manager Partner at Thorn Law Group, as soon as possible.


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"Mr. Thorn and the attorneys at Thorn Law Group were so knowledgeable about the IRS Voluntary Disclosure Program and about the way the IRS Criminal Investigation Division works. Mr. Thorn helped put my mind at ease and walked me through the whole Voluntary Disclosure process. With the help of Thorn Law Group, and Mr. Thorn specifically, we were able to get back into compliance and were able to avoid criminal prosecution."