Barely a year and a half have passed since the Panama Leaks shocked the world by revealing financial information specifically offshore accounts of several powerful people all over the world. And now, Paradise Papers have revealed that Facebook and Twitter had financial links to major Russian government firms.
These investments were made by Yuri Milner who is Russia’s most influential Tech Investor to Kremlin-owned firms VTB Bank and Gazprom. VTB Bank directed $191 million into an investment fund, DST Global, which then used the money to buy a large stake in Twitter in 2011.
While Gazprom heavily funded an offshore company that partnered with DST Global in a large investment in Facebook. Paradise Papers went on to show that Yuri Milner, and other partners in reaped large gains when they sold their stakes in Facebook and Twitter in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Milner and Mark Zuckerberg also met certain times in Public Conferences.
This disclosed that Kremlin showed financial interest in American Social Media a long time before he intruded in last year’s US Presidential Elections. And to top it up, these revelations have come out when the Congress is investigating the US tech giants Facebook and Twitter roles in the spread of Russian misinformation during Donald Trump’s successful campaign for the White House.
As it is publicly known that Milner has put together large investments on Facebook and Twitter. However, after the Paradise Papers were released he officially denied his involvement in an open letter and claimed that he is not working for Russia and is not trying to turn social media against U.S. democracy.
Paradise Papers have become the second biggest leak after Panama with data amassing up to 1.4TB regarding offshore accounts with over 13.4 million documents leaked in this report. These documents consist of loan agreements, emails, trust deeds and financial statements that are associated with Politicians to Multi-National Companies.
Some other Popular names have also made it to the list such as Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s yacht and submarines, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Cayman Island investment vehicle and even the British Queen Elizabeth’s name is on this list.