An ocean of leaked documents exposes how the rich and powerful hide their money from the taxman.
Heard of the Paradise Papers? You haven’t if you still believe in the official American fantasy that honest hard work is the path to prosperity. The Paradise Papers comprise the latest trove of purloined documents from financial institutions, primarily in the Caribbean, and re veal that those of us who abide by the rules, working hard and paying our taxes until it hurts, are playing a sucker’s game.
The folks who make the really big bucks—the millionaires and billionaires who reap even more riches as large-scale investors—manage to avoid taxes on a huge chunk of their earnings by storing it in secret offshore accounts. We’re talking trillions of dollars. Yet this scam is perfectly legal according to the U.S. tax code.
A couple of years back, after a previous mass release of such documents (the Panama Papers), I went to visit the scene of the “crime” and was startled to find—in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere—nothing more than some forlorn structures containing thousands of post office boxes. They serve as mailing addresses of companies that rarely convene their directors and pay no taxes or in any serious way account for their activities to local authorities, who are rewarded for looking away. These phony “corporate offices” produce nothing but a pretext for their various proprietors to avoid paying taxes back home, in the nations to which they profess to be loyal.