It’s not enough to say – in response to the Paradise Papers revelations – that we already knew that rich people parked their money in offshore tax havens where their piles accumulate far from the scrutiny of our government.
Nor is it enough to say that we were already aware that we live in a time of ‘inequality’.
What we have learned this week is the clinical definition of the word.
What we have learned is how much the rich and the virtuous have been hiding away and where they’re hiding it.
Yes – there are sinister-looking Russian capitalists involved.
But there’s also our favorite actors and singers.
Our beloved alma mater – supposedly a charitable institution.
Everyone with money seems to be in on it.
We’re also learning that maybe we’ve had it backwards all along.
Tax havens on some tropical island aren’t some sideshow to western capitalism – they are a central reality.
Those hidden billions are like an unseen planet whose gravity is pulling our politics and our economy always in a certain direction.
And this week we finally began to understand what that uncharted planet looks like – we started to grasp its mass and its power.
Millions of pounds of the Queen’s private money is invested in offshore funds in the Caribbean – a huge leak of financial documents referred to as the ‘Paradise Papers’ has revealed.
The papers show that the Duchy of Lancaster – which manages investments for the Queen’s £520m private estate – reportedly invested around £10m in funds in based in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
They also show that the monarch holds investments via funds in businesses including off license chain Threshers and BrightHouse – which has been accused of exploiting people with mental health problems and learning disabilities in order to sell its products.
The 13.4 million documents – which have been dubbed the Paradise Papers – also reveal that Donald Trump’s Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross owns a stake in a firm linked to Russian businessmen who are the subject of US sanctions.
The papers were obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and are being analysed by 100 media organisations across the world.