Here’s a Rundown of a Few of the Trump Donors Keeping Their Money Offshore

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Because nothing says patriotism like stashing your cash overseas to avoid taxes.

David and William Koch

One year ago, Donald Trump stood in front of an adoring crowd in New York City, proclaiming victory for the forgotten Americans over the elitist, globalist campaign of Hillary Clinton.

“Ours was not a campaign, but rather an incredible and great movement,” he said. “It was made up of millions of hard-working men and women who love their country and want a better, brighter future for themselves.”

But now, a new series of revelations from the Paradise Papers show just how hollow those promises were. The leaked papers show that a number of Trump’s biggest financial backers were the same billionaire globalists that Trump decried at rallies across the country — and that’s in addition to the tax-dodging globalists currently sitting in his cabinet. The leaks reveal that these men stashed away parts of their fortunes, valued in the tens of billions, to avoid public scrutiny. From there, they could funnel more than $60 million into super PACs supporting Trump’s presidency.

Here’s a rundown on some of the key donors exposed so far by the Paradise Papers:

Sheldon G. Adelson

Who is he and how is he connected to Trump? 

Sheldon Adelson is a casino mogul worth an estimated $35 billion who owns properties in Las Vegas, Macau, and Singapore — as well as the publication the Las Vegas Review Journal. Adelson shelled out more than $82 million in 2016 for Republican candidates, according to the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists. During the election he and his wife Miriam donated around $45 million to Trump’s presidential campaign, as well as down ballot Republican races. Adelson also gave $5 million to the committee that organized Trump’s inauguration festivities — the largest amount ever given. He has lobbied fiercely to outlaw internet gambling and is known for his far-right views on a range of political issues, from U.S. foreign policy towards Israel to the legalization of marijuana.

What did he do? 

The Paradise Papers have revealed that Adelson is the president of Interface Bermuda, which provides private planes, including two Boeing 747 Jumbo Jets, to the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, Adelson’s casino company. According to the Securities Exchange Commission, Las Vegas Sands transferred tens of millions of dollars to Interface Bermuda between 2010 and 2016. By doing so, Adelson was effectively setting up a pot of cash in a jurisdiction not subject to U.S. tax laws.

The Koch Brothers

Who are they and how are they connected to Trump? 

Charles and David Koch together run Koch Industries, a massive conglomerate and the second largest private company in the United States with an annual revenue of more than $100 billion. The Koch brothers have a long history of supporting right-wing causes, having previously helped finance the Tea Party movement. The two brothers initially declined to back Trump, but warmed to him after his election, and in May launched a multi-million-dollar campaign in support of Trump’s tax plan.

What did they do? 

The Paradise Papers reveal how the Koch brothers took the paper and pulp company Georgia-Pacific and made it private, relocating millions of its dollars from high-tax environments to havens like Bermuda, according to the Guardian. A subsidiary company, Georgia-Pacific Britain Ltd., was established in Bermuda. Then loans of more than $500 million were made by Koch companies in the United States to the subsidiary Bermuda company. Essentially, the Koch’s created a “black box” of subsidiaries and shell companies that would allow them to transfer their money from heavily-taxed regions to offshore havens.

Robert Kraft

Who is he and how is he connected to Trump? 

The owner of New England Patriots and worth an estimated $5.2 billion, Robert Kraft is an ally of Trump. He previously donated more than $1 million to Trump’s inaugural fund, and also gave the president his own diamond-encrusted Superbowl ring after the Patriots triumphed over the Atlanta Falcons.

What did he do? 

According to the Guardian, Kraft was one of several sports team owners who stashed their money in tax havens like Bermuda, where Appleby, the firm at the center of the Paradise Papers, is based. Kraft had a company with Appleby for more than two decades and was labelled a “Politically Exposed Person” on internal communications, meaning his affairs needed to be handled with particular care. It is unknown how much Kraft stored offshore, but he is listed as the owner of 12,000 shares of a Bermuda company. It is extremely possible that Kraft used this company to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Paul Singer

Who is he and how is he connected to Trump? 

Singer manages the hedge fun Elliott Management Corporation, which specializes in distressed debt acquisition. What this means is that his hedge fund will buy off debt from countries and then aggressively pursue re-payments — with interest. Singer’s company has a reputation for ruthlessness — it once seized an Argentinian naval ship in Ghana because it claimed that Argentina was not keeping up with its debt repayments. Although initially a “Never Trumper,” Singer donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural fund and was described by Trump as a “very strong ally.”

What did he do? 

Singer’s offshore sins show how tax havens can be used as gray areas to reach business and legal deals which deserve public scrutiny. One of Singer’s offshore firms was a Cayman-Islands-based company known as Kensington International, which had bought $57 million of debt from the Republic of the Congo. The country didn’t keep up with its payments so Kensington sued the country — in the British Virgin Islands. In 2007, attorneys from the Republic of Congo asserted that Kensington was an “opaque offshore entity that appears to be used to shield Elliot Associates.” The country eventually agreed to settle the debt for an undisclosed sum.

Why all this matters

It would be unfair to claim that only the Trump supporting mega-rich used advantage of the tax-dodging techniques outlined in the Paradise Papers. Obama’s former commerce secretary Penny Pritzker, is detailed for instance, as are private-equity funds controlled by Democratic donor George Soros. Even Bono and Madonna are revealed to have taken part. But the connections Trump’s donors and cabinet members have to these offshore havens show just how removed the president is from the right-wing, populist messaging of his campaign. Even the president’s economic adviser, Gary Cohn brushed aside the Paradise Paper revelations. “I’m not embarrassed at all,” he said. “This is the way the world works.” Cohn seems to be admitting that, despite all the promises to re-build the American Dream, Trump and his cronies are perfectly happy with the world operating as an “international oligarchy”.

 

Reprinted with permission from Think Progress