WTF Are These Paradise Papers Everybody Is So Obsessed With?

In case you’ve been too busy not giving a shit about taxes—because honestly, who even understands how they work besides depriving me of my own money—allow us to explain the bombshell of shady dealings that recently leaked called the Bachelor in Paradise Papers. And as Chris Harrison will tell you, these papers are about to be some of the most dramatic leaks in paradise history.

WTF Is A Paradise Paper?

A bunch of journalists just went full Betty Cooper and uncovered a massive amount of document leaks that detail trillions of dollars earned by American companies, celebrity investors, and high-ranking political officials that have been hidden and funneled through offshore havens on remote islands. Basically, they’re hiding money at the local tropical bank next to your fav all-inclusive resort. Trillions is a shit ton of money so, yeah, this can be filed under Big Fucking Deal.

The Paradise Papers get their name because Appleby, my favorite place to drunk eat mozzarella sticks the major law firm assisting in the moving around of funds, is based in Bermuda and uses other paradise-y islands such as the Caymans and the Virgin Islands as places to shift their clients’ earnings so they don’t have to pay income taxes. Appleby helps its clients reduce their tax requirements and hide ownership of things like private jets, yachts, and expensive mansions. Meanwhile, I can’t even successfully hide credit card purchases from my dad, so maybe I should call them.

Who Is Implicated?

Just about every person and company famous for being super fucking rich. From the trademark rights to the Nike swoosh, to Madonna’s share in a medical company and Keira Knightley’s investments in some super random real estate firm, thousands of names were released in association with the use of tax haven islands. The Queen of England’s private estate even invested millions in a Cayman Islands fund previously unknown to the public, so basically she’s reached Olenna Tyrell levels of sneaky bitch. Yas Queen.

U2 lead singer and man who has no idea how to count to four in Spanish, Bono, is the partial owner of a shopping mall in Utena, Lithuania (where?), thanks to his investments in a company based in Malta—which, you guessed it, is also one of those tax haven islands. First of all, did no one question what Bono was doing with a Lithuanian mall or why Keira Knightley is trying to join the Property Brothers? Even I know that sounds shady and I get all of my investigative skills from Olivia Benson.

Apple also got their iHands dirty with a healthy dose of tax avoidance by shifting their profits to Irish subsidiary companies. When questioned about the company’s dealings, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, insisted that they didn’t just “stash money on a Caribbean Island.” That may be technically true, but they did stash it on an island in the English Channel called Jersey. Savage use of wordplay, Timmy. Cook is definitely the kind of fuckboy who tries to defend his late night Snaps because you said he couldn’t text his exes, but never said anything about Snapchat.

Side note: Anywhere named Jersey should automatically be flagged as a danger zone of probable suspicious activity. Both have shores where stuff is spread around, but on one of them it’s money, and on the other it’s unidentified fluids and STDs. 

Now you didn’t think a scandal would just breeze by without any mention of Trump and Russia, did you? Of fucking course not. A whole bunch of Trump’s friends and colleagues have holdings in offshore accounts, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and key Trump donors, the Mercers and Sheldon Adelson. One member of the Big Cheeto’s merry band of weasels joining the Paradise pregame is Wilbur Ross, Trump’s Secretary of Treasury. Ross invested in a shipping company whose top clients include a Russian firm controlled by someone literally being sanctioned right now, and Putin’s own son-in-law. If we have learned anything from this garbage fire of an administration, it’s to never trust a son-in-law.

Speaking of that creepy doll Adam brought to Jared Kushner, he’s not walking away scot-free either. A Russian billionaire named Yuri Milner invested an absurd amount of money in Facebook and Twitter, but that investment money came to him from Kremlin backers providing hundreds of millions from government-controlled banks and financial institutions typically used for “potentially strategic deals.” One of Milner’s current investments also includes a real estate venture founded and partly owned by, you guessed it, Daddy-in-Law’s Boy Jared.

Why Should You Care?

Ok, so even though all of that shit sounds shadier than “we’re just friends”, it isn’t necessarily illegal. However, as more Nancy Drew-ing goes down, it’s likely that a dece amount of illegal activity will emerge. As far as uber-rich celebrities go, tax evasion is just kinda fucked up. Like, can you just register your private jet in the country where you actually use it plz?

As for the ties to Russia, that doesn’t bode very well for the whole “no connections between Trump and Putin” lie this administration has been peddling harder than me at SoulCycle the day after Thanksgiving.

With the release of the papers, officials are feeling the pressure to tighten up the very loose loopholes that allow these strategic tax avoidance hacks to happen, and they are considering making it harder to make use of rando offshore companies to hide their money. All I know is, Paradise is a breeding ground for scandal, and I’ll be sitting over here eating my bowl of cheese pasta and waiting for it all to implode.

Read more: http://www.betches.com/paradise-papers-explained