The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released on Sunday the so-called Paradise Papers, a trove of 13.4 million leaked files that expose the offshore interests and activities of some of the world’s richest and most powerful.
Members of US President Donald Trump’s administration, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Queen Elizabeth II, and a senior adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are among those mentioned in the papers.
The leaked files are mostly from Bermuda-based law firm Appleby and include loan agreements, emails, financial statements, and other related documents, with some of those dating back more than 50 years.
The paperwork was first obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung which then shared it with ICIJ. The trove of leaked files strongly resembles the Panama Papers that were released last year and exposed businesses owned and conducted by rich and famous in tax havens around the world.
In a similar fashion, the Paradise Papers list more than 120 politicians, world leaders, and other public figures. It became known that Lithuanian businessman, politician, and poker player Antanas Guoga is among those mentioned in the trove of leaked papers.
Mr. Guoga, also known as Tony G among gambling industry peers, represents his home country in the European Parliament. He assumed office back in 2014. He is also known to be the founder of Isle of Man-based company iBus Media Ltd., the owner of online poker news outlet and super affiliate PokerNews.
Mr. Guoga’s Offshore Businesses
According to the Paradise Papers, Mr. Guoga had founded iBus Media and was formerly a shareholder in the offshore gambling news publisher. The Appleby files further show that Mark Scheinberg, the founder and former owner of the PokerStars online poker brand, was also a shareholder in iBus Media.
A message from 2015 showed that Mr. Guoga had disposed of his shares in PokerNews’ owner. Last week, iBus confirmed that Mr. Guoga was no longer part of the group and that he had begun selling his holding in iBus in 2010 to The Stars Group, formerly known as Amaya, which also happens to be the owner of the PokerStars brand.
The Paradise Papers also show that Mr. Guoga is the owner of a Malta-based company SG Holdings Ltd. According to Lithuanian news outlet 15min, the businessman/politician has not disclosed his ownership of the above-mentioned entity in his parliamentary disclosures.
Asked about his comments, Mr. Guoga told 15min that he was an investor in iBus Media and that his interest in the group was fully public and relevant information was available at tax authorities. On the other hand, information about his involvement in the SG Holdings offshore business is still too limited.
More information about the offshore activities of rich and powerful people and their stashing of money offshore in an attempt to avoid heavier taxation in their home countries will be released as part of the Paradise Papers investigation in the coming days and weeks.