As reported two weeks ago, the data breach last year at offshore law firm Appleby has finally hit the newspapers with the so-called 'Paradise Papers' scandal implicating a variety of big names.
The scandal has scooped up former Conservative Party chairman Lord Ashcroft, Uzbek-Russian mining billionaire Alisher Usmanov and even the Queen in its dragnet, joining former European Commissioner Neelie Kroes, who claimed that her name on offshore company documents was a mere 'clerical oversight'.
The papers indicate close links between Usmanov, who holds a minority stake in Arsenal Football Club with ambitions to take outright ownership, and Farhad Moshiri, the new businessman owner of struggling Everton Football Club who, coincidentally, also happens to be an ex-employee of Usmanov.
While the two claim that their footballing interests are entirely separate, the papers leaked from Appleby indicate that even the law firm was asking questions.
Moshiri apparently acquired his wealth, The Guardian reports, via the gift of a share stake in Arsenal that he subsequently sold to Usmanov, using the proceeds to buy-in to Everton. Appleby was involved in both men's footballing investments.
The leaked papers also indicate that Lord Ashcroft may have retained his 'non-domiciled' status after it was supposedly dropped when he was knighted. The Queen was meanwhile found to have some investments made via offshore tax havens.
The publication of papers from the Appleby data breach, in a similar way in which the papers from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca were leaked, raises questions over who may be behind the data breaches.
The spilt papers have been passed on to consortia of investigative journalists to pore over, before the choiciest morsels are published months later.
The range of global leaders implicated in both breaches suggest that it isn't the work of a government intelligence agency.
Law firm Appleby was breached in September last year, but only admitted the breach at the end of October, in response to persistent journalist enquiries.
Like the so-called Panama Papers, breached from law firm Mossack Fonseca in 2015, with details published in 2016, the Paradise Papers focus on tax avoidance, tax evasion and the transfer of wealth offshore to secretive jurisdictions.
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