Press release | Nov. 5, 2017

Paradise Papers: UK government complicit in global secrecy scandal unless it tackles role of white-collar professionals and tax havens

Global Witness spokespeople and background briefings available

Murray Worthy, Global Witness corruption campaigner, said:

“The Paradise Papers have exposed how some of the world’s most prominent public figures, including The Queen and a key Trump associate, are involved in a global secrecy scandal of offshore accounts and hidden financial dealings. They have laid bare the social damage, undue influence and corruption hard-wired into our financial system, and the failure of governments around the world to tackle the role of tax havens and the white-collar professionals who facilitate such deals.”

The Papers, from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), pile huge pressure on the UK government to open up its tax havens, with the top five jurisdictions for hidden deals all UK Overseas Territories or Crown Dependencies. 

“Global Witness’ investigations have shown time and time again how anonymously-owned shell companies set up in tax havens are used as “getaway cars” for criminals and the corrupt. They are used to fund terrorism, extremism and to deprive ordinary people of basic healthcare and education. We now see the Queen’s estate investing public money into a company criticised by consumer watchdogs for exploiting the UK’s most vulnerable.

“The UK government promised it would act after last year’s Panama Papers but has failed to open up its tax havens. Unless it does so now, it remains complicit in fuelling corruption and secrecy worldwide.” 

From what has been so far revealed, there is nothing illegal in the investments and no suggestion that the Queen is not paying tax.

For interviews or more information, please contact Lucy Beck on +44 7725 260530 or Global Witness’ media department on +44 7912 517 127

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Notes to editor:

  • Find Global Witness’ report on Glencore, one of the FTSE100 companies implicated in the Paradise Papers, Glencore and the Gatekeepers, at
  • Appleby states it has thoroughly and vigorously investigated the Paradise Papers allegations and is satisfied that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing by themselves or their clients.

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