The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and The Guardian today reveal the identities of celebrities and aristocrats – including Mel Gibson and Placido Domingo – who have had offshore dealings, as controversy grows over the Jersey links of the newly-appointed British financial services minister Andrea Leadsom.
Following an earlier disclosure that the ruling British Conservative party received £816,000 in offshore donations from Leadsom’s Channel Islands-based brother-in-law, the British opposition Labour MP Paul Farrelly, who campaigns on tax issues, called for the cabinet secretary to step in.
He said: “Any semblance of political donations influencing ministerial appointments needs to be addressed straightaway. The cabinet secretary should ask what she knew of these donations by people and companies connected to her.”
Leadsom claimed to have been unaware of the size of payments made through a company owned by her brother-in-law and run by her husband until the Guardian published. But it emerged on Tuesday that exact figures were previously made public by Private Eye magazine in May. At the time, it was not realized the company was owned by her own family.
The Jersey files are taken from records of more than 20,000 individuals held with the “wealth management” firm Kleinwort Benson, which were leaked to the ICIJ and shared with The Guardian. Both organizations are publishing details of carefully selected individuals to further the public debate about off-shoring and tax avoidance.
A wide variety of prominent individuals’ names appear on the Jersey files. On Tuesday The Guardian revealed a raft of prominent donors to the Conservative party. Now, a range of celebrities and sportsmen – from Dire Straits musician Mark Knopfler to celebrity London tailor Oswald Boateng, motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi and football manager Bryan Robson – are revealed.
They include those who sought a legal tax advantage from offshore activities; those who received legal offshore windfalls from relatives; and foreigners whose tax declarations to their own authorities are often voluntary.