Prominent Canterbury figure listed in Paradise papers

Bermuda, where the main company involved in the Paradise Papers, was based

Former Canterbury City Council leader John Gilbey is listed in the Paradise Papers.

The financial documents revealed a complex network of offshore accounts and investments made by everything from multinational firms to celebrities including U2 frontman Bono.

Mr Gilbey, who lives in Kingston, is listed because of a US$5,000 investment he mad with a firm called The Big Group Ltd while he was living in Brussels in the late 1980s.

He told the Canterbury Journal this week that he had no idea that he was listed.

“I was persuaded to put this money into Big Group a long time ago,” he said. “Unfortunately, it turned out to be a scam and I never saw it again.

Ex-council leader John Gilbey with wife Carol

“The man at the middle of it just disappeared, but I am slightly worried that I appear in the Paradise Papers.

“After all, we do all our investments with an excellent firm in London and I can assure you that I pay all my taxes here.”

Mr Gilbey, the former chief executive of a mining firm, led the city council between 2007 and 2015 when he retired from politics.

The Paradise Papers became public thanks to a leak relating to the Bermuda-based offshore investment firm Appleby in November.

Financial affairs of hundreds of politicians, multinationals, celebrities and high-net-worth individuals, some of them household names, were revealed.

The papers also throw light on the legal firms, financial institutions and accountants working in the sector and on the jurisdictions that adopt offshore tax rules to attract money.

Details of the investments were published by the the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

It website states: “There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any people, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.”

However, some of the revelations prompted further investigations.

A Lithuanian shopping mall partly owned by U2’s Bono is under investigation for potential tax evasion and there were questions relating to a private jet bought by Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton.


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