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Bono and Queen Elizabeth are among the world's super rich exposed in the Paradise Papers

The Guardian reports that Bono used a company based in Malta to buy a Lithuanian shopping centre.

Over 13 million leaked documents have laid bare the tax practices of the super rich.
Over 13 million leaked documents have laid bare the tax practices of the super rich.
Image: PA Images

A HUGE LEAK of about 13.4 million secret documents has shed more light on how some of the world’s rich and famous avoid tax, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Bono among them.

The documents, nicknamed the Paradise Papers, were obtained by the International Consortium of Journalists and published across almost 100 different media outlets.

The Guardian reports that they show how Bono used a company based in Malta to pay for a share in a shopping centre in a small town in Lithuania.

U2′s frontman was reportedly an investor in the Maltese company Nude Estates, which bought the Aušra mall for €5.8 million shortly after it opened in 2007.

In 2012, the shopping centre business was transferred to a company in Guernsey called Nude Estates 1.

Queen Elizabeth’s connections to offshore investments have also been revealed by the Paradise Papers.

According to the documents, the queen’s investment managers placed roughly 10 million pounds (€11.2 million) in offshore portfolios in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

The investments were made in 2004 and 2005 by the Duchy of Lancaster, the queen’s private financial manager.

The Duchy of Lancaster, which holds assets for the British monarch to generate income for her, confirmed in a statement that some of its investments are in overseas accounts. It said that all its investments were legitimate.

“We operate a number of investments and a few of these are with overseas funds. All of our investments are fully audited and legitimate,” it said.

The documents showed that the queen invested in BrightHouse, a household goods and electronics retailer that has been accused of exploiting customers by charging high interest rates.

The queen pays taxes on the income generated by her holdings in the Duchy of Lancaster.

She has vast financial assets, including luxury real estate, valuable artwork and jewellery.

The documents about Elizabeth’s financial holdings are part of a tranche of some 13.4 million records of offshore accounts leaked to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Journalists and a network of more than 380 journalists in 67 countries.

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the widespread use of offshore havens by wealthy individuals in dozens of countries proves “there’s one rule for the super-rich and another for the rest when it comes to paying tax”.

- With reporting by Rónán Duffy

Read: Self-employed? Revenue has given you more time to pay your tax bill thanks to Storm Ophelia >

Read: Dept of Finance shuts down Trump’s claims that Ireland is dropping its corporation tax rate >

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Associated Press

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