Nearly 4,000 individuals from the U.S. are mentioned in the report. One of them is Denise Rich, a Grammy-nominated songwriter whose ex-husband “was at the center of an American pardon scandal that erupted as President Bill Clinton left office,” according to ICIJ. Rich had $144 million in April 2006 in a trust in a Cook Islands trust, records obtained by the ICIJ show.
Meanwhile, James R. Mellon, a member of the Mellon dynasty that launched companies like Gulf Oil and Mellon Bank, and an author of books about Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Mellon “used four companies in the BVI and Lichtenstein to trade securities and transfer tens of millions of dollars among offshore bank accounts he controlled,” ICIJ reports. Mellon told ICIJ he owned “a whole bunch” of offshore companies but has since disposed of them. He set up the firms for “tax advantage” and liability reasons. “But I have never broken the tax law,” he said. Of the use of nominees, Mellon noted that “that’s the way these firms are set up,” and that it’s useful for someone who travels a lot to have someone else in charge of his businesses. “I just heard of a presidential candidate who had a lot of money in the Cayman Islands,” he said. Mellon was “alluding to former U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney,” ICIJ notes.