Hidden in the 25,000 offshore entities we added to the Offshore Leaks Database today are some of the world’s most prestigious universities and colleges.
ICIJ and its partners found more than 100 educational institutions in offshore law firm Appleby’s client database, which was part of the Paradise Papers leaks.
Some of these elite institutions hold tens of billions of dollars in their endowments, and in the eyes of the law, they are treated as charities: altruistic, mission-driven and tax-exempt.
The only time university endowments pay taxes is when they invest in debt-financed financial firms such as private equity funds and hedge funds. These investments are considered a business activity unrelated to their tax-exempt missions.