Steve Wynn. Photograph: Steve Marcus/Reuters/Las Vegas Sun
Steve Wynn, the Las Vegas and Macau casino mogul, became finance chair of the Republican National Committee in January.
In 2004, Wynns empire set up, with the help of the law firm Appleby, an intricate loan agreement that tied together a web of corporations across several tax havens to finance a new casino resort in Macau.
The mesh of concerns, details of which were
made public to the SEC, linked Wynns interests in Las Vegas, Hong Kong and the Isle of Man.
The Appleby files record the Republican donors offshore presence in the Isle of Man, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, and in some cases give frank accounts of the potential tax advantages.
In one of the Paradise Papers, lawyers tell Wynn his businesses are exempt from taxation in the Isle of Man in terms of the income tax, a point Wynn Macau Ltd later noted in
public filings to the SEC when it declared: The group is exempted from income tax in the Isle of Man and the Cayman Islands.
Wynn used to be on frosty terms with Trump, whom he once accused of being all hat, no cattle, but he donated entertainments worth more than $700,000 to the presidents inaugural festivities.
He stands apart from a number of his fellow Republican donors in that he has made public several of the key aspects of his offshore holdings through the SEC.
In a statement, his legal representative said: Wynn Resorts is a public company regulated by gaming licensing authorities in multiple jurisdictions. All assets of the company are fully disclosed in SEC filings, and no assets are or ever have been hidden.
The statement added that all Wynn entities, including those offshore, were reported. For tax purposes, the offshore companies are disregarded and no offshore company has ever been used to hide assets or reduce taxes paid by Wynn in the US or Macau, it said.
In recent years, Wynn has begun to repatriate a large part of his wealth to the US. In 2010, according to the
companys SEC filings, there was a change of policy relating to his offshore millions.
From that date, the vast sums held by the
Cayman Islands subsidiary, Wynn Macau Ltd, was no longer treated as permanently based offshore. The shift came with the twist, however, that the company expected to pay no additional US taxes, as any money repatriated to America would be counterbalanced by foreign tax credits.
By 2015, Wynns parent company, Wynn Resorts Ltd, had
brought back to the US almost $2bn from the Cayman Islands. As a result, it is impossible to know how much money the gambling empire still has tied up in tax havens.
In an interview with Fox News in October 2016, Wynn said corporations were holding money offshore because taxes in America are excessively high for businesses. He proposed that the federal government give companies a tax write-off on the money they agreed to bring back. Create the job, bring the money back, Uncle Sam wont collect a dime, he said.
The idea has been adopted by Trump, though the tax rate to be imposed on the returning money has yet to be announced. George W Bush introduced a repatriation tax holiday in 2004, but it
had little impact. Much of the $300bn brought back by US corporations was used to hike executive pay. Paul Singer
Paul Singer. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters
The Paradise Papers show the lengths to which the major Republican donor, hedge fund manager and vulture capitalist will go to extract debt from one of the worlds poorer countries.
The leaked documents contain a paper trail relating to one of Singers subsidiaries as it pursued entities in Congo-Brazzaville to try to retrieve debt it had bought at a knockdown price.
The practice of distressed-debt acquisitions is a Singer speciality. The leaked documents add new texture to the pursuit of the Republic of the Congo by the hedge fund manager, who gave $1m to Trumps inaugural fund.
Kensington International Ltd, a Cayman-Islands-based subsidiary of Singers Elliott Management, had bought $57m of debts owed by the Congo-Brazzaville government after it borrowed money in the 1980s.
The debt was to be repaid at 8% interest a good deal as long as the company could eventually retrieve the money. When it failed to do so, Kensington secured a ruling from a court in London in 2003 that increased the amount Congo-Brazzaville owed it to about $100m.
When the government of Denis Sassou Nguesso did not pay up, Kensington pursued the case in the British Virgin Islands, to the bemusement of a judge who wondered why a Cayman Islands company was pursuing the debt through a different jurisdiction.
In the course of fierce courtroom struggles, representatives of the Republic of the Congo government accused Singers company of hiding behind a small offshore subsidiary to shield itself from criticism of its relentless pursuit of one of the worlds poorer nations. Singers executives countered that oil was being spirited out of the country illegally to enrich members of Sassou Nguessos family.
Congo-Brazzaville agreed to settle its debt in November 2007 for an undisclosed sum. Singers company did not respond to specific questions on its activities, though it did point to positive media reports on its work in Africa.