According to the New York Times, companies such as VTC Uber, Botox or Allergan, could have used similar strategies as Nike and Apple to avoid tax paying. AFP

PARIS: Apple, Bono and Queen Elizabeth II are just a few of the big names and companies revealed in the Paradise Papers leak to have shifted money across the globe to cut tax.

The spotlight on the tax affairs of the rich and powerful comes after a trove of documents was released by the US-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), detailing secretive offshore deals that, while not illegal, are embarrassing for those concerned.

Here, according to the papers, are some of the most well-known names caught up in the controversy:

Millions of pounds from the private estate of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II have been invested in offshore tax haven funds. AFP

• Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has, through the Duchy of Lancaster which provides her income and handles her investments, placed around £10 million (US$13 million) of her private money in funds held in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

The funds were reinvested in an array of businesses, including controversial rent-to-own retailer BrightHouse which has been accused of exploiting the poor.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visits Han Jiang Ancestral Temple at Lebuh Chulia in Penang, Malaysia. Charles has been named as one of the many who shifted money across the globe to cut tax. Bernama pic.

• Her son, Prince Charles, has invested millions of pounds in offshore funds and businesses, including a Bermuda-based sustainable forestry company once run by a close friend.

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. EPA-EFF

• US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross holds a 31 percent stake in maritime transport company Navigator Holdings through a complex web of offshore investments.

Navigator Holdings runs a lucrative partnership with Russian energy giant Sibur, linked to President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. Russia is subject to US sanctions.

• In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s top fundraiser and senior advisor Stephen Bronfman, heir to the Seagram fortune, moved some US$60 million to an offshore haven in the Cayman Islands.

Brazil's Finance and Agriculture ministers, Henrique Meirelles and Blairo Maggi, denied irregularities in entities linked to their names that are mentioned in the vast leak of documents dubbed the Paradise Papers. AFP

• Brazil’s economy and agriculture ministers, Henrique Meirelles and Blairo Maggi, are also cited in offshore companies in tax havens.

U2 frontman Bono (right) denied links to the Paradise Papers. AFP

• U2 frontman Bono is shown in the leak to own a stake in a Maltese company that bought in 2007 a Lithuanian shopping mall via a Lithuanian holding company, which may have broken tax rules by using an unlawful accounting technique.

• Pop diva Madonna bought shares in a medical supplies firm, the New York Times said. Radio France meanwhile said she had invested in a firm that gained from taxes on virtually non-existent capital gains.

New revelations from the "Paradise Papers" shed light on tax avoidance strategy employed by Nike, Apple and Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton. AFP

• Britain’s four-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton avoided paying taxes on a private jet, receiving a £3.3 million VAT refund in 2013 after it was imported into the Isle of Man, a low-tax British Crown Dependency.

• Colombian singer Shakira who lives in Barcelona, was domiciled in the Bahamas for tax reasons and transferred 31.6 million euros earned in royalties to Malta, France’s Le Monde newspaper said.

A customer takes a picture of the new iPhone X at an Apple Store on November 3, 2017 in Palo Alto, California. Apple is one of the firms named in the Paradise Papers. AFP

• Technology giant Apple shifted much of its offshore wealth from Ireland to the Jersey tax haven in the British Isles to adapt to the tightening of Irish tax laws in 2015.

New revelations revealed loopholes employed by Nike to avoid paying taxs. AFP

• US sportswear giant Nike used a loophole in Dutch fiscal law to reduce, via two companies based in the Netherlands, its tax rate in Europe to just two percent compared to the 25 percent average for European companies.

• The taxi-hailing app Uber and the manufacturer of Botox, the Allergan pharmaceutical laboratory, allegedly used similar methods to Nike.

• The Paradise Papers also reveal that Russian companies with links to the Kremlin invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Twitter and Facebook.

The Internet giants are already under fire, notably in the US Congress, for the use of their platforms to spread Russian rumours during the 2016 US presidential election.--AFP

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