Humanosity asks….Question: What does Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, Brexit financier Arron Banks and right-wing media owners Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, all leading Brexiteers, have in common?
You might think the answer is simple; they’re all hugely influential pro-Leave backers. But the reality is far more sinister. All of the aforementioned personalities were caught up in the Paradise Papers leak in 2017.
In this article the authors go through the Paradise Papers which were a huge cache of records on those who held accounts in tax havens. The leak contained in excess of 1,400GB of data which contained around 13.4 million documents. The leaked data covers seven decades, from 1950 to 2016.
Alongside the Panama Papers which were another huge leak of data on who was involved in tax havens, the Paradise Papers detail the offshore financial dealings of “hundreds of politicians, multinationals, celebrities and high-net-worth individuals, some of them household names, have been revealed”.
To give you an example of the Brexiteers who appear in the papers the article says the following.
Rees-Mogg, who took up the position of Leader of the House of Commons under Boris Johnson’s administration, was found to have pocketed $680,000 while working for an offshore investment firm. While Aaron Banks, who donated £8.5 million to Nigel Farage and his campaign to leave Europe, is part owner of a bank on the Isle of Man which turns over millions of pounds a year. The Barclay brothers, owners of the Daily Telegraph, were found to have interests in Bermuda-based Reid Finance Ltd, and both Andrea Leadsom’s husband and brother-in-law were caught up in the scandal.
The link with Brexit is based on the fact that in January 2020 the European Union is going to enact a law that will force anyone with offshore accounts and investments to fully reveal the details. This will have serious implications for those involved in tax avoidance and evasion.
The UK government, in the hands of the Conservatives, unsuccessfully tried to oppose the EU’s adoption of this policy. As the article states:
Although there’s nothing new in finding high-profile political personalities with scrupulous financial pasts, it does raise a question over their motivations for leaving the European Union. It would make life for those with significant offshore wealth far more complicated, which is perhaps the motivation for keeping the UK at arms-length ahead of impending EU legislation?