One Hour Video: BBC ‘Paradise Papers’ Special

November 8, 2017 | 20 Comments

The special edition of BBC Panorama has been posted on Youtube, showing the broadcast of one of the main media partners in the widely reported Paradise Papers.

Bermuda is, to say the least, in the news worldwide, as the Paradise Papers have been extremely widely reported, with an initial check of online media reports and usage of the hashtag on social media indicating they number into the millions.

A Google search for “Paradise Papers” + “Bermuda” shows some 246,000 results, just “Paradise Papers” shows millions of results, while the use of the #ParadisePapers hashtag on Twitter has trended as high as number one, attaining hundreds of thousands of tweets in the first 24 hours alone.

The release of the Paradise Papers was coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists [ICIJ] who said that they, and 95 media partners, explored 13.4 million files from a combination of “files of offshore law firms and the company registries in some of the world’s most secretive countries.”

The Papers — and reports emanating from them on the tax and business practices of politicians, celebrities and royalty — have been reported by numerous major media worldwide, and the BBC Panorama have been one of the more notable ones, producing a special broadcast they said investigates “a huge new leak of data that reveals how the wealthy and powerful invest offshore.”

Reporters have been in Bermuda and footage of that time is included in the BBC programme. According to one Asian publication — in a special feature titled “Island of Suspicion” – about 20 reporters from seven media organizations gathered in Hamilton last month.

The most recent statement from Appleby said, “The Panorama programme of 6th November and a number of media outlets continue to reference Appleby’s security incident as a data leak. We wish to reiterate that our firm was not the subject of a leak but of a serious criminal act and our systems were accessed by an intruder who deployed the tactics of a professional hacker.

“While there were no allegations of any wrongdoing on the part of Appleby, there were some allegations of perceived failings in our business practice standards. Operating in highly regulated jurisdictions, we face an ever-increasing level of compliance obligations.

“Our overriding objective is to have the procedures and policies to ensure that we have 100% compliance with our obligations. This is a major undertaking and Appleby invests significantly in compliance professionals and processes, not only to put in place the requisite procedures and policies but also to review constantly our current practices to see where there can be improvement.

“We are grateful for the continued support from our clients, our referrers, intermediaries, local Governments and finance bodies and from the business community in general, including our competitors. It has been humbling.

“We wish to apologise to our clients and to our colleagues for the difficulties which have arisen from this incident. We remain committed to working with each and every client to talk to them about what has happened so that they can understand its impact on them and in order to support them with their own reporting requirements.

“We also remain committed to the highest standards of client service and confidentiality.”

Following the release of the Paradise Papers, Premier David Burt said, “We will be aggressive in defending our reputation as we have nothing to hide.

“Bermuda is an open, transparent jurisdiction. We have a vigorous regulatory framework. More than 100 tax-transparency treaty partners can request and receive information from Bermuda.

“Bermuda was one of the early countries to join the Base Erosion Profit Shifting [BEPS] OECD group known as the Inclusive Framework – which Multinationals in Bermuda must report their income on a Country by Country Basis.

“We automatically share information via “Common Reporting Standards” with Tax Authorities in 34 countries including the US, UK, France and Germany.

“Whenever we receive evidence of wrong-doing we have the means and teeth to force compliance based on our legislation coupled, with strong law enforcement and regulatory cooperation. In the past, we have taken decisive action again individuals or corporation who are non-compliant. We will continue to do so.

“Bermuda is not a place to hide money, in fact you cannot hide money or avoid tax in Bermuda as tax authorities receive that information automatically.

“Bermuda is committed to transparency, cooperation and compliance. We will not tolerate any who fall below our globally leading standards.”

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Comments (20)

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  1. Retired says:

    Wow, our former Minister of Finance (he who shall not be named) really has a way of arrogantly telling people that he is The Boss, how are you going to be in an interview of that nature and try and belittle a reporter by snapping at him like that.

    Thanks Former Minister, former being the operative word.

    • Huh? says:

      Looks like they took a couple of sound bytes and ignored full answers. Release the whole of that interview not just edited sound bytes. I’d like to see the whole thing. You can tell by the tonality that the whole response wasn’t used.

  2. Sorry Sir says:

    Did those reporters get a work permit?

  3. Silence Do Good says:

    Conspiracy Theory

    A British entity could have hacked Appleby and leaked the documents to the British press. Why? To discredit small financial jurisdiction, having the world governing bodies pass stricter regulatory regimes to end small financial offshore jurisdiction.

    Once the UK leaves the EU, the UK will offer all sorts of lucrative tax breaks and incentives to do the exact same thing the small guys is doing while they laugh at the regulatory regime. This is the UK’s way of killing trade in their overseas territories so that can clean up without any other nation asking question. Its OK for the UK to do it with less regulation because they raise millions of people who pay taxes while companies get incentives for job creation.

    I suggest the small financial centers stuff the regulatory regime, throw the doors open at anyone who has money and does not mind paying a percentage to hide/launder it. No Bermudian would have to work again with social payouts.

  4. Mike says:

    Thanks Bob…you done it your way !! Just like not turning over papers of airport ….
    Arrogance!!!!

    • Maxed Out says:

      Ah yes, our new Chinese owned airport. Maybe if we become Independent they will throw in a stadium too.

  5. Huh? says:

    Most of the content relates to Isle of Man, Mauritius and Jersey……reporter couldn’t understand a boat race, but his attitude in that segment suited his playing off emotional jealousy to gain traction. Unimpressed, why didn’t he ride a scooter like everyone else.

  6. Real Onion says:

    Bermuda and many of it’s know it all arrogant residents are in for a serious wake up call due to this expose.
    Personally I cannot wait to see these types fall on their combined asses.

  7. wahoo says:

    Well that bloak was smug wasn’t he?

    • Real Onion says:

      it’s bloke,not bloak.

      • wahoo says:

        Sorry I will get it right next time but the word bloak is listed as a variation of bloke so I am not far from correct. I also called him a blighter which was edited but really just means contemptible.

  8. Ringmaster says:

    Several years ago the BBC were blasted (polite) for the dubious way they paid many of their staff, using questionable ways for them to avoid tax. Was this reporter one of those? Whichever the BBC is not the saint most think they should be. Let’s investigate the BBC and this reporter.

    Tax avoidance is not illegal. Only tax evasion and there seems very little from this hacking to support tax evasion.

  9. Maxed Out says:

    Even if I was not so incensed over this theft and how close to home it hits, I think I would have still found the program obnoxious and pretentious – the reporter acts as if people have an obligation to maximize their taxes, which is of course total bull.

  10. Ronald from India says:

    Can Bermuda take a suit against Appelby for this data breach if we can show negligence eon there part to protect their data of these clients. Its so damaging to our reputation… :s (And they were negligent).

  11. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    I wonder if the same hacker could shut down the power grid for the entire East coast of the USA costing millions .

  12. George says:

    Whether tax avoidance is illegal or immoral is not really that relevant to the debate. There will always be a non-compliant entity that will take advantage of western tax jurisdictions restrictive policies e.g. It used to be Cayman (Bermuda?) then Panama now its Mauritius/Isle of Man. The real issue is as Bob Richard’s (like him or loathe him hes right in this case) and others have pointed out on multiple occasions in the past is that the EU, the UK and the US have always be looking for scape goats to answer for years of incompetence and inaction when it comes to developing modern, progressive tax structures for their countries – case in point look at what is happening in the US as we speak re. personal/commercial income tax review. Whilst they struggle as Government entities to keep up, their own companies are continuing to look for ways to increase profits whether its by developing new methods/technology to use in their new iPhone or continuing to setup new off shore shell companies that achieve the same. Blaming Apple for a Government’s inability to budget, spend and invest wisely in its social programmes (as was stated on multiple occasions in the Panorama piece by Tax Transparency advocates) is disingenuous at best. No amount of new income/revenue is going to dictate how any Government will spend it. Accountability needs to start at home!

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