A slew of leaked documents reported by a consortium of news organizations show several individuals connected to President Trump as having legally protected their business investments or influenced policies that would keep client and company funds in tax havens.
The more than 13 million documents, dubbed "the Paradise Papers," center around Appleby, a Bermuda-based law firm, among other companies, and were first reported by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. They were then shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in partnership with other news outlets, including the Guardian, BBC and The New York Times. The same organization was also behind the release of the Panama Papers.
Like the Panama Papers, the Paradise Papers revolve around the issue of offshore entities set up by members of the global elite.
The Paradise Papers pinpoint over 120 politicians and royal leaders around the world who have connections to offshore finance, according to news organizations such as NBC News, which also obtained the documents.
Several top Trump administration officials are among those mentioned in the reports.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossBannon's subpoena snub sets up big decision for Biden DOJ House panel, Commerce Department reach agreement on census documents China sanctions Wilbur Ross, others after US warns of doing business in Hong Kong MORE maintained shared business interests with Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle after joining the administration, according to documents obtained by The New York Times. This includes an investment in a shipping business that makes millions of dollars transporting gas from a company co-owned by Putin's son-in-law, the Times reported.
A Commerce Department spokesperson told NBC News, which also obtained the documents, that Ross has recused himself from matters related to transoceanic shipping and is in contact with ethics officials to “ensure the highest ethical standards.”
The spokesperson added Ross has "generally" supported sanctions regarding Russia, although the statement did not address the ties referenced in the NBC News report.
The president's chief economic adviser Gary Cohn has held leading roles in 22 separate entities for Goldman Sachs in Bermuda between 2002 and 2006, while Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Supreme Court lets Texas abortion law stand Trump-era ban on travel to North Korea extended Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump MORE also directed a company in Bermuda in 1997, according to The Guardian.