Named in tax probe

Formula One world champion and one of the world’s wealthiest sportsmen, Lewis Hamilton, has been named in an offshore tax-avoidance scheme that is to be investigated by authorities.

Hamilton is accused of avoiding European taxes through a leasing business from which he rented his private jet back to himself, on the second day of revelations from the leaked Paradise Papers — a set of over 13 million confidential electronic documents relating to offshore investment, which might have been used to conceal income from taxation.

The documents were obtained by the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

A number of high-profile individuals and companies have been implicated in the revelations, which predominantly come from a hack on law firm Appleby.

British lawyer James O’Toole — who described himself in emails as a “tax alchemist” — set up structures designed to help the wealthy hide their money, including a loophole for paying public school fees whilst operating within the law.

The first documents were leaked over the weekend, containing the names of more than 120,000 people and companies — including Queen Elizabeth and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

Hamilton was said to have been refunded £3.3 million ($6.3 million) in VAT when he imported his £16.5 million ($31.4 million) red Bombardier aircraft into England from Canada in 2013 through the Isle of Man.

The jet was bought by his British Virgin Islands (BVI) company, was then leased to an Isle of Man company set up by Appleby, who then leased it to a UK jet chartering company, who then leased it to Hamilton and his team.

There is no suggestion Hamilton was directly involved in creating the scheme used for his jet and he told the BBC that he asked a tax barrister to check the scheme and was told it was lawful.

The Isle of Man Government have reviewed their schemes and found no evidence of wrongdoing but have nonetheless asked the British tax office to investigate, The Guardian reported.

The newspaper says Hamilton “appears to have used shell companies in the BVI, the Isle of Man and Guernsey to avoid the entire £3.3 million VAT bill triggered when he imported his aircraft”.

Lewis Hamilton

Formula One world champion and one of the world’s wealthiest sportsmen, Lewis Hamilton, has been named in an offshore tax-avoidance scheme that is to be investigated by authorities.

Hamilton is accused of avoiding European taxes through a leasing business from which he rented his private jet back to himself, on the second day of revelations from the leaked Paradise Papers — a set of over 13 million confidential electronic documents relating to offshore investment, which might have been used to conceal income from taxation.

The documents were obtained by the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

A number of high-profile individuals and companies have been implicated in the revelations, which predominantly come from a hack on law firm Appleby.

British lawyer James O’Toole — who described himself in emails as a “tax alchemist” — set up structures designed to help the wealthy hide their money, including a loophole for paying public school fees whilst operating within the law.

The first documents were leaked over the weekend, containing the names of more than 120,000 people and companies — including Queen Elizabeth and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

Hamilton was said to have been refunded £3.3 million ($6.3 million) in VAT when he imported his £16.5 million ($31.4 million) red Bombardier aircraft into England from Canada in 2013 through the Isle of Man.

The jet was bought by his British Virgin Islands (BVI) company, was then leased to an Isle of Man company set up by Appleby, who then leased it to a UK jet chartering company, who then leased it to Hamilton and his team.

There is no suggestion Hamilton was directly involved in creating the scheme used for his jet and he told the BBC that he asked a tax barrister to check the scheme and was told it was lawful.

The Isle of Man Government have reviewed their schemes and found no evidence of wrongdoing but have nonetheless asked the British tax office to investigate, The Guardian reported.

The newspaper says Hamilton “appears to have used shell companies in the BVI, the Isle of Man and Guernsey to avoid the entire £3.3 million VAT bill triggered when he imported his aircraft”.

Lewis Hamilton

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