Officials and businessmen from all over the world became the defendants of the next offshore scandal. Even the Queen of Great Britain, Elizabeth II, got on the lists of the so-called Paradise Dossier. In such a pleasant company, Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov turned out to be No. 40 in the global ranking of the rich by Forbes, whose fortune is estimated at 18.6 billion dollars.
The leak of 13.4 million documents came from Appleby from Bermuda, one of the world's largest law firms dealing with offshore operations, corporate governance and finance. Documents were received at the disposal of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The investigation, called the Paradise Papers ("Paradise Dossier") involved 382 reporters from 96 media outlets from 67 countries around the world. In Russia, this consortium includes Novaya Gazeta, which also got acquainted with Appleby materials.
One of the most intriguing moments in the investigation was the possible purchase by Alisher Usmanov of Facebook shares for public money and the subsequent profitable sale to himself. According to the publication, it follows from the documents that Alisher Usmanov began discussing the first deal to buy social network shares in the fall of 2008. Then he headed the Gazprom subsidiary Gazprom Investholding. She, according to the investigation, financed and controlled the firm Kanton Services from the British Virgin Islands. This firm became an investor of the Yuri Milner Fund DST, which bought 10% of Facebook shares before the company entered the IPO in 2012, after which the cost of social networks increased from 6.5 to 105 billion dollars. Shares increased in price, and then Kanton Services sold them to another firm affiliated with Usmanov, Epion Holdings. Journalists claim that the partners received more than $ 500 million in net profit. But Gazprom almost did not work, although it was invested, that is, our means. After all, through the state we all have a little bit of national treasure. After the sale of Facebook shares, the billionaire invested in Chinese IT companies.
According to Yuri Milner, he did not know that Usmanov could use state money for investments. Representatives of Usmanov categorically deny this fact.
"All the insinuations concerning the alleged use by Mr. Usmanov for personal purposes of Gazprom's means are false and do not correspond to reality," says the statement of the press service. Now the businessman intends to defend his legitimate rights and interests in court. The press service stresses that Usmanov and his affiliated companies "always not only observe the letter and spirit of the law, but also act in strict accordance with the principles of corporate governance and ethical standards."
Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs:
- We promised to prepare a black list of the so-called tax havens until the end of 2017. The EU will be strict to those who deserve it. Now 90 countries are being monitored, and if they do not want to get on this list, they must accept all EU rules established. We are working on reform of the financial intermediary control system, and, without a doubt, their activities should be more transparent.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which published the documents of the Paradise Dossier, is subordinate to the Center for Integrity. This organization, in turn, is funded by many well-known funds, including the Henry Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and the Carnegie Endowment. At the same time, one of the main sponsors of the center is Open Society - a non-profit organization acting on behalf of the "beloved" by many George Soros.