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What are the Paradise Papers?
The Paradise Papers are a huge leak of financial documents that throw light on the top end of the world of offshore finance.
A number of stories are appearing in a week-long expose of how politicians, multinationals, celebrities and high-net-worth individuals use complex structures to protect their cash from higher taxes.
As with last year's Panama Papers leak, the documents were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which called in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) to oversee the investigation. BBC Panorama and the Guardian are among the nearly 100 media groups investigating the papers.
The Paradise Papers name was chosen because of the idyllic profiles of many of the offshore jurisdictions whose workings are unveiled, including Bermuda, the HQ of the main company involved, Appleby. It also dovetails nicely with the French term for a tax haven - paradis fiscal. Then again, the Isle of Man plays a big part.
Who is being exposed?
The offshore financial affairs of hundreds of politicians, multinationals, celebrities and high-net-worth individuals, some of them household names, have been revealed. The papers also throw light on the legal firms, financial institutions and accountants working in the sector and on the jurisdictions that adopt offshore tax rules to attract money. The top stories so far include:
Apple has protected its low-tax regime by using the Channel Island of Jersey
Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton avoided tax on his £16.5m luxury jet, the papers suggest
The Queen's private estate invested about £10m offshore including a small amount in the company behind BrightHouse, a chain accused of irresponsible lending
One of President Donald Trump's top administration officials kept a financial stake in a firm whose major partners include a Russian company part-owned by President Vladimir Putin's son-in-law
A Lithuanian shopping mall partly owned by U2 star Bono is under investigation for potential tax evasion
How three stars of the hit BBC sitcom, Mrs Brown's Boys, diverted more than £2m into an offshore tax-avoidance scheme
One of the world's largest firms loaned a businessman previously accused of corruption $45m and asked him to negotiate mining rights in a poor central African nation
The Isle of Man passed a law that would help tax evaders, the documents show
A key aide of Canada's PM has been linked to offshore schemes that may have cost the nation millions of dollars in taxes, threatening to embarrass Justin Trudeau
Lord Ashcroft, a former Conservative party deputy chairman and a significant donor, may have broken the rules around how his offshore investments were managed. Other papers suggest he retained his non-dom tax status while in the House of Lords, despite claiming to have become resident in the UK
How questions were raised about who is controlling Everton FC
An oligarch with close links to the Kremlin may have secretly taken ownership of a company responsible for anti-money laundering checks on Russian cash
How a UK company exploited an anti-tax avoidance law to actually save itself tax
This is by no means everything - more will be coming out over the next few days.
You can find our stories on the revelations here.
Where do the Paradise Papers come from?
There are more than 1,400GB of data, containing about 13.4 million documents. Some 6.8 million come from the offshore legal service provider Appleby and corporate services provider Estera. The two operated together under the Appleby name until Estera became independent in 2016. Another six million documents come from corporate registries in some 19 jurisdictions, mostly in the Caribbean. A smaller amount comes from the Singapore-based international trust and corporate services provider, Asiaciti Trust. The leaked data covers seven decades, from 1950 to 2016.
What is Appleby?
A law firm that helps corporations, financial institutions and high-net-worth individuals set up and register companies in offshore jurisdictions.
Founded in Bermuda and with a history dating back to the 1890s, it has become one of the largest and best known of about 10 major companies involved in the specialist arena. The leak shows the US dominates Appleby's client register, with more than 31,000 US addresses for clients. There were more than 14,000 UK addresses and 12,000 in Bermuda.
Graphic showing facts & figures about Appleby. The company has 470 employees, 200 lawyers and 60 partners. It operates from 10 offices wordwide in the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guensey, the Seychelles, Mauritius, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The company was started in the 1890s in Bermuda by Major Ronald Appleby. Over 125 years and through a process of mergers and expansion, is it now ranked as one of the world's largest providers of offshore legal services.
Who are Appleby?
Who leaked the Paradise Papers?
As with 2016's Panama Papers, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung obtained the original material and was the stepping off point for this investigation. In the case of the Panama Papers, the originator of the leaks, named only as John Doe, issued a manifesto a month after the publication date. A simple statement this time says: "For their protection, Süddeutsche Zeitung does as a general policy not comment on its sources!"
Who is working on the leaks?
As with the Panama Papers, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a global network of investigative journalists, was called in to work on the project. Along with the BBC's flagship Panorama programme, there are nearly 100 media partners involved in 67 countries, including the Guardian and the New York Times.
Why is it in the public interest?
The media partners say the investigation is in the public interest because data leaks from the world of offshore have repeatedly exposed wrongdoing. The leaks have led to hundreds of investigations worldwide, resulting in politicians, ministers and even prime ministers being forced from office.
Why is this leak different?
The $64m question, or probably more if you are in a tax haven, or offshore financial centre as the industry prefers to call it. It is indeed the fifth major leak of financial papers in the past four years and, yes, last year's Panama Papers were bigger in size - 2.6TB to 1.4TB - but the scale of the information in the Paradise Papers and how it lifts the lid on sophisticated, upper-end offshore dealings, many linked to the UK, is unprecedented.
Graphic: How big is the Paradise Papers leak compared to other recent data leaks? The Panama Papers in 2016 was 2.6 terabytes (TB) of data. The Paradise Papers is 1.4 terabytes. Offshore leaks in 2013 amounted to 260 GB. Bahamas leaks, 2016 was 38 gigabytes (GB). Luxembourg leaks in 2014: 4.4 GB Swiss leaks, 2015: 33 GB. Wikileaks, 2010: 1.7 GB.
As Gerard Ryle, who oversees member journalists at the ICIJ, says: "This leak is important because it's the high end of town. People may have dismissed the Mossack Fonseca leaks as they were rogue players who would take any client. Most of the offshore world is not like that at all. Here you have the gold-plated company."
The documents were tougher than the Panama Papers too. Mr Ryle says: "They came in different formats and it took us a long time to decipher them. There were nice surprises along the way but it was a much more difficult data set."
What exactly is a tax haven?
It's hard to pin down an exact definition. Tax haven is the term usually used in the media and public, whereas the industry would prefer the term offshore financial centre (OFC). It is essentially a financial jurisdiction outside the regulations of your own nation used by companies and individuals to lower their taxes on profits or assets. They are usually secretive and stable. They are also often small islands, many of them UK Crown Dependencies or Overseas Territories, but not exclusively so. Nations such as Switzerland, Ireland and the Netherlands have similar tax reducing mechanisms, while the UK and the US are leading nations providing services that facilitate the use of OFCs.
The papers are a huge batch of leaked documents mostly from offshore law firm Appleby, along with corporate registries in 19 tax jurisdictions, which reveal the financial dealings of politicians, celebrities, corporate giants and business leaders.
The 13.4 million records were passed to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Panorama has led research for the BBC as part of a global investigation involving nearly 100 other media organisations, including the Guardian, in 67 countries. The BBC does not know the identity of the source.
The Kremlin invested 'hundreds of millions' in Twitter and Facebook through Kushner associate Yuri Milner www.businessinsider.com
Newly-leaked documents show that the Kremlin invested hundreds of millions of dollars into Twitter and Facebook through a business associate of President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
According to the "Paradise Papers" — a trove of more than 13 million internal documents released Sunday that show how the world's wealthiest use offshore tax havens — two Russian state-owned entities with close ties to Vladimir Putin invested money into Facebook and Twitter through the Russian-American tech investor Yuri Milner.
Milner currently holds a stake in a real-estate project that was founded and is partially owned by Kushner. When Kushner first joined the Trump administration, he failed to disclose his holdings in the project.
Russia's state-owned VTB Bank gave Milner $191 million to invest in Twitter, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which obtained the Paradise Papers. The bank, according to The New York Times, frequently embarks on "politically strategic deals."
Documents also show that Gazprom Investholding, the financial arm of the Russian state-operated energy firm Gazprom, backed a company affiliated with Milner which owned approximately $1 billion in Facebook stock shortly before it went public in 2012.
Gazprom is one of Russia's largest energy companies and Putin is said to wield significant influence over the firm, which is stacked with the Russian leader's allies and associates.
When all was said and done, Milner owned roughly 8% of Facebook and 5% of Twitter, according to The Times. He sold his holdings in both social-media companies years ago, and there is no evidence that he was connected to Russia's widespread propaganda campaign on the two platforms during the 2016 election. He also told the ICIJ that he was not aware of Gazprom Investholding's involvement in his investments, and that none of his deals were related to politics.
Vladimir Putin. Mikhail Klimentyev/Pool Photo via AP, File
Despite that, revelations that two major Russian state-owned entities pursued financial interests in Facebook and Twitter do bear some significance.
"Kremlin-connected institutions make investments with strategic interests in mind — not just commercial interests but state interests as well," Michael Carpenter, who served as Russia director on the National Security Council during the Obama administration, told The Times on Sunday. "They go hand in hand."
Carpenter added that Russian oligarchs who receive financial support from Russian banks must be above a certain "political threshold, meaning such support requires the explicit or tacit approval of those at the top of Russia's crony capitalist system."
Facebook and Twitter have taken center stage in recent weeks, particularly after it emerged in September that Russian "trolls" used the platforms to organize divisive rallies and spread misinformation to sow discord among the American public leading up to the election. Last week, lawyers representing the two companies and Google testified before the House and Senate intelligence committees about Russia's election meddling.
As part of their investigation into Russia's interference, congressional intelligence committees and the FBI are also looking into whether the Russians had help from any members of the Trump campaign. Brad Parscale, who served as the campaign's digital director, testified before the House Intelligence Committee in a closed-door session in late October.
Kushner, who managed the campaign's data operation along with Parscale, is also a subject of interest to the committees and to special counsel Robert Mueller....
BEIJING－China is determined to put growth quality before pace, but that will not hold the economy back from growing faster than most of other countries in the coming decade, according to experts.
In a report delivered to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China or CPC, the country's leadership called it "a new historic juncture in China's development", as the economy has been transitioning from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development.
In the eyes of Chi Fulin, head of the China Institute for Reform and Development, that does not mean the growth rate will be mediocre.
Over the next five to 10 years, China's economy will be able to achieve at least 6 percent of annual growth, thanks to improvement in industrial structure, upgrading of consumer spending and progress of urbanization, he said.
In the past five years, the global economy expanded at an average rate of 2.6 percent, while developing economies grew at 4 percent.
China has set 2020 as the target to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, just one year before the CPC celebrates its 100th anniversary.
Chi estimated that by the end of 2020, China's economic rebalancing will yield eye-propping results.
By then, the value of the country's services sector will increase to about 50 trillion yuan ($7.58 trillion) from 38.4 trillion yuan recorded in 2016.
Retail sales of consumer goods will also expand to about 50 trillion yuan from 33 trillion yuan recorded in 2016.
The integrated development of urban and rural areas is expected to generate investment and consumption of nearly 100 trillion yuan, which will be the most remarkable bonus for China's development in the medium to long run, he said.
Over this period, China's contribution to global economic growth would remain at around 30 percent. More than half of its population would become middle-income earners.
"A successful rebalancing of the world's second largest economy would not only upgrade China's economy, but also boost global economic recovery and growth," Chi said.
In the future, China's economic restructuring will be advanced together with opening-up, of which the Belt and Road Initiative and the development of trade in services and free trade zones will be focus areas, he said.
The International Monetary Fund recently raised its forecast for China's economic growth in 2017 and 2018 to 6.8 percent and 6.5 percent respectively, both higher than the earlier forecast in July.
For an economy with a total volume of over $11 trillion, maintaining such high growth is not easy, Chinese Vice-Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said.
China's stable economic growth mainly stems from major progress in economic reforms, particularly supply-side structural measures (such as cutting overcapacity in key sectors like steel and coal), and the government's ability to maintain a stable macroeconomic policy, he said.
While gains from structural reforms will come with a time lag, they will have a positive impact on China's economic growth in the medium term, said Changyong Rhee, director of the Asia Pacific Department at the IMF, adding China's growth has also provided ample opportunities for Asia to maintain its growth over the last 10 years....
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the United Nations S.Sukhbold delivered a speech at a plenary meeting of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly held on November 2 in New York, USA.
Through his speech, S.Sukbold presented ongoing policy and goals of the Mongolian Government on protection of human rights, as Mongolia is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). At the plenary meeting, countries discussed the UNHRC’s Annual Report, and concluded activities done last year.
During the 70th UN General Assembly in 2015, Mongolia was elected a member of the UNHRC in a term from 2016 to 2018.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil prices hit their highest levels since July 2015 early on Monday as markets tightened, while Saudi Arabia’s crown prince cemented his power over the weekend through an anti-corruption crackdown that included high profile arrests.
Brent futures LCOc1, the international benchmark for oil prices, hit $62.44 per barrel early on Monday, their highest level since July 2015. Brent was at $62.27 per barrel at 0230 GMT, up 20 cents, or 0.3 percent from the last close and 40 percent above June’s 2017 lows.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 hit $56.00 per barrel in early trading, also the highest since July 2015, and was at $55.79, up 15 cents, or 0.3 percent from the last settlement. WTI is a third above its 2017 lows.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, has tightened his grip on power through an anti-corruption purge by arresting royals, ministers and investors including prominent business billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal and the head of the National Guard, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah.
RBC Capital Markets said in a note that although the “purge represents a stunning political development in Saudi Arabia,” it expected “no immediate changes” in the oil policy of Saudi Arabia, which is the world’s biggest exporter of crude oil.
“MBS seems strongly committed to anchoring the OPEC agreement deep into 2018 and moving ahead with the Aramco sale,” RBC said.
Bin Salman’s reforms include a plan to list parts of giant state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco next year, and a higher oil prices is seen as beneficial for the market capitalization of the future listed company.
In oil fundamentals, traders said that there were ongoing signs of tightening market conditions.
U.S. energy companies cut eight oil rigs last week, to 729, in the biggest reduction since May 2016.
The decline in U.S. drilling activity comes as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a non-OPEC group lead by Russia have pledged to hold back about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in oil production to tighten markets.
The pact to withhold supplies runs to March 2018, but there is growing consensus to extend the deal.
While supplies are tightening, analysts say demand remains strong.
“Synchronous global economic growth and new supply disruptions are creating the most constructive oil price environment since ... 2014,” Barclays bank said.
The British bank said it was raising its average Q4 Brent price forecast by $6 per barrel to $60 per barrel.
”The surprisingly strong macro backdrop and the accelerated inventory drawdown mean that these slightly higher price levels are likely to be sustained through Q1 of next year.
Barclays said it raised its full-year 2018 forecast by $3 per barrel to $55 per barrel.
Energy stocks rose in Sydney on Monday as the price of oil looked set for a solid week in the face of growing risk in the international oil market.
The S&P/ASX 200 Energy index was 1.3 per cent higher on Monday with Santos up 2.5 per cent, while Beach Energy and Woodside Petroleum added 2.3 per cent and 1.8 per cent, respectively.
International benchmark Brent crude was at a fresh two-year high on Monday, up 0.4 per cent in Asia trading at $62.30 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the US marker, was up 0.4 per cent at $58.85.
ANZ analysts said in a research note that burgeoning supply-side issues “should see oil prices remain well supported this week”, with momentum building in the Middle East for an extension to the current production cut agreement, in addition to debt concerns in Venezuela and armed conflict in Nigeria.
The Emir His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani sent a written message to President of Mongolia Khaltmaagiin Battulga on Saturday, pertaining to the relations between the two countries and means to develop them. Qatar's Non-Resident Ambassador to Mongolia HE Sultan bin Salmeen al Mansouri handed over the message during a meeting with the Mongolian president on Saturday. (QNA)...
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian shares hovered near decade highs on Monday as strong U.S. economic data and corporate earnings supported global stocks while major currencies held in tight ranges as investors focused on U.S. President Donald Trump’s tour of Asia this week.
Trump ramped up his tough rhetoric against North Korea as he kicked off a 12-day Asian trip on Sunday, saying the United States and its allies are prepared to defend freedom.
The U.S. president wants a united front with the leaders of Japan and South Korea before he visits Beijing to make the case to Chinese President Xi Jinping that more needs to be done to rein in Pyongyang. Trump also plans to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin during his trip.
While investors were on edge about the outcome of these high-stake meetings, sentiment has generally been buoyed by upbeat economic data in the United States.
“Global growth is a mature theme, and notably, we have seen real improvement in Europe, while in the U.S. the data is humming along nicely,” said Chris Weston, senior market strategist at I.G. Markets.
U.S. non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to its highest level since 2005, figures out on Friday showed. New orders for U.S.-made goods gained for the second straight month in September and orders for core capital goods surpassed expectations.
“The wash-up after all the data flow was a further belief that the U.S. Federal Reserve can lift rates in December,” said Weston.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was a touch softer at 556.39, but within striking distance of Friday’s top of 557.93 which was the highest since November 2007.
Australian shares traded around levels not seen since April 2015 at 5,956.90 points while Japan's Nikkei .N225 advanced further to a 21-year peak.
Wall Street had a field day again on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI up 0.1 percent, the S&P 500 .SPX gaining 0.31 percent and the Nasdaq .IXIC adding 0.74 percent.
Apple Inc (AAPL.O) gave the biggest boost to each of the three indexes after its stronger-than-expected results on Thursday.
Long queues formed outside the company’s stores in Asia and Europe on Friday as fans flocked to buy the new iPhone X, and the U.S. company moved closer to a $1 trillion market capitalization.
U.S. tax reform is also going to be a focus with the House Ways and Means Committee allowing amendments to the bill from Monday, while the Senate is expected to release its own version of the bill on Wednesday.
The degree of differences between the two bills will set the tone in terms of tax reform expectations.
The dollar index .DXY, which measures the U.S. dollar against a basket of currencies, held near four-month highs, while the euro EUR= trod water to loiter around its lowest since July.
Oil rose to the highest in more than two years after U.S. rig data suggested drilling in the United States would throttle back.
Brent futures LCOc1 were up 24 cents at $62.31 a barrel, the highest since July 2015. U.S. crude CLc1 added 16 cents to 55.80.
Spot gold XAU= was steady at $1269.61 an ounce....
China has created a new law to impose heavy fines on internet shopping websites which publish false advertisements about their products.
Vendors who delete negative online reviews or post fake positive reviews face a minimum $30,000 (£23,000) fine.
The new law aims to clean up China's internet shopping websites just before Singles Day - the country's busiest online shopping day of the year.
Last year's Singles Day saw sales worth almost $18bn (£13.7bn) in 24 hours.
Chinese consumers placed 657 million orders.
The authorities are also trying to stop the use of a technique known as brushing - when vendors stage fictitious sales in order to boost their standing in website search results.
China in August launched a digital "cyber-court" to help deal with a rise in the number of internet-related claims, including online shopping disputes.
Singles Day is held every year on 11 November. The day is also referred to as Double Eleven because of its date.
Originally claimed as a celebration for China's young singletons, Alibaba turned it into a shopping bonanza in 2009.
While Alibaba is undeniably the driving force behind the event, other retailers have also started to piggyback off the idea, including extending it to Hong Kong and Taiwan.
In August Alibaba reported strong earnings, posting a 56% rise in quarterly revenue.
Analysts say that Asia in general and China in particular are at the centre of the global shift towards e-commerce.