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tv   BBC News  BBC News  November 5, 2017 8:00pm-8:31pm GMT

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this is bbc news. i'm julian worricker. the headlines at 8:00pm. a huge new leak of financial documents — known as the paradise papers — has revealed how the powerful and wealthy secretly invest vast amounts of money in offshore tax havens. the bbc panorama programme has discovered that millions of pounds of the queen's private money is invested in offshore funds based in the cayman islands and bermuda by her private estate, the duchy of lancaster. the papers also disclose how donald trump's commerce secretary has business links with russian allies of president putin who are subject to us sanctions. and the spotlight is on the conservative party donor lord ashcroft. the files suggest he could face a tax bill of tens of millions because of the way he may have used an offshore trust. and the other stories developing. the prime minister's deputy, damian green, strenuously denies
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claims that pornography was found on a computer in his commons office nearly a decade ago. government chief whip chris pincher has referred himself to the police, over claims in a sunday newspaper of behaving inappropriately. multiple casualties are reported following a shooting at a baptist church in texas. catalonia's sacked leader and four former ministers turn themselves in to belgian police — a judge must decide whether to execute european arrest warrants issued by spain. hello and welcome to bbc news. before we bring you news of the
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financial documents, let's turn our attention to events in texas, bringing you up to date on reports ofa bringing you up to date on reports of a shooting taking place at a baptist church. details of the shooting are sketchy but police say that several people have been shot bya gunman that several people have been shot by a gunman in a church in the town of sutherland springs and in the last few moments, more details, as we show you live pictures of the scene from above the baptist church. a police commissioner at the scene in sutherland springs has told cbs news that at least 27 people have died in the church shooting. earlier on, there was a comment from the sheriff who told local media that there had been fatalities in the church, that the gunman had been, as he put it, taken out by police. the pictures we show you give you a
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sense of the location and of the amount of activity on the ground. certainly according to other local reports there has been a heavy police presence at this aim, as you'd imagine that the church —— at the scene. several arab villages and fire engines as well. there were also reports of airlifts from the scene “— also reports of airlifts from the scene —— several ambulances and fire engines. talk from a police commissioner on the ground saying at least 27 people have died in a shooting at a baptist church. we hope to bring you more on that from oui’ correspondence hope to bring you more on that from our correspondence in the states in a little while. a huge new leak of financial documents has revealed how the rich and powerful around the world, including the queen's private estate, secretly invest vast amounts of cash in offshore tax havens. the 13 million documents,
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mostly from an offshore law firm called appleby, have been called the paradise papers. they've been obtained by the german newspaper sudeutsche zeitung and shared with the international consortium of investigativejournalists — including, in the uk, the guardian and the bbc‘s panorama programme. they show how the duchy of lancaster, which is the queen's private estate, invested around £10 million offshore. some of the money went into the off—licence chain threshers, which later went bust owing more than £17 million in tax. and a small amount went into brighthouse, the hire purchase company that's been accused of charging inflated interest rates. the leaked documents also reveal that this man — wilbur ross, donald trump's friend and commerce secretary — has business ties with russian allies of president putin, who are subject to us sanctions. and they suggest lord ashcroft,
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the donor and former deputy chairman of britain's conservative party, may have ignored rules around how his offshore investments were managed. other papers suggest he retained his non—domiciled status while in the house of lords, despite reports he'd become a permanent tax resident in the uk. it's important to say that tax avoidance is not illegal, but it is controversial. and these latest revelations are bound to fuel the political debate around offshore tax havens and whether governments should do more to clamp down on them. our first report is by richard bilton from the bbc panorama team which has been investigating the paradise papers. it is an island paradise but there isa it is an island paradise but there is a lot more to bermuda than just beaches and the sun. it is a tax haven, secrecy and 0% tax rates. one of the world's biggest offshore
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companies, appleby, is based here. 7 million documents have been leaked. for months, we had to carry out secret research. that's the head office. we have to be very careful at this stage of the investigation. appleby don't know that we have their data. but now we can report what goes on here. the leak is known as the paradise papers. it contains some of the biggest names in britain. like the queen's private estate. the queen's investments are handled by the duchy of lancaster. now because of the files we can see where some of the money was going. £10 million was invested in tax havens, with $7.5 million in one fund in the cayman islands. it is perfectly legal and there is no
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suggestion tax was being avoided but should be monitored's cash be going offshore? if the money has been invested in a tax haven i would have thought it would be extremely embarrassing for the royal family. we expect higher standards of the queen in terms of where the investments are located. the duchy told us: the paradise papers also expose a new link between president trump's government and the russians. you know who that is, right? it's wilbur ross, president trump's, secretary. this is in auditing janco, the sanctioned friend of president putin —— gennady timchenko. we have found that these two men have a business link. wilbur ross said that he cut ties with companies that could compromise his new role in the us
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government. your service has resulted in your divest it yourself of literally hundreds of millions of dollars. you did it to avoid any conflict of interest, correct? that is correct. we don't think that is correct. we have discovered mr ross has a stake in a shipping company called navigator holdings. one of its major clients is sibur, a russian energy company. gennady timchenko is a shareholder who was tangent by the us government in 2014. you don't want to get known as somebody who plays ftse or walks up to the line with sanctioned individuals. if you know anything about the russians it's that under the current system, it's easy to get dirty. don't go there, man, don't go there. mr ross told us that none of there. mr ross told us that none of the funds he managed ever owned a majority of navigator‘s shares and
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he never met timchenko. there are revelations closer to home. i, michael, lord ashcroft, do swear by almighty god. lord ashcroft was the tory deputy chairman and gave millions to the party but what we found in the files could leave him facing a tax bill of tens of millions. a series of payments totalling around $200 million were made to him from a trust in the nude. to avoid tax —— a trust in bermuda. the trust must act independently, if lord ashcroft avoided the rules, he could face a big bill from the taxman. e—mail seen big bill from the taxman. e—mail seen by our suggest a rising sense of frustration from the trustees but lord ashcroft was not playing by the rules —— that he was not playing by the rules. it looks like lord ashcroft was
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controlling the trust and expecting trustees to rubber—stamp his decisions. he didn't answer written questions, so i caught up with him at the tory conference. did you have tens of millions in an offshore trust that you secretly controlled? did that mean you could avoid millions in tax? why don't you talk to me, it would be great to hear your view. it was the punta gorda trust. his lawyers made said that i had started shouting something at him by which time lord ashcroft had walked away and heard nothing of what i said. we've done about a mile and a half, we could have been sponsored. despite the questions, lord ashcroft wouldn't give us his side. i'm not going to folly in
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there, sir. about believe, appleby said it does not specialise in tax, that these are sensitive documents relating to appleby and its clients. these are the first names from the paradise papers but there are more to come from this extraordinary leak. our economics correspondent andy verity is here. a lot of documents, focused on individuals and organisations, what do you focus on? the biggest in terms of its impact is clearly what we found out about the queen and her private money and where it has gone. to put it in perspective, the money is organised through the duchy of lancaster. she is the duke of lancaster. she is the duke of lancaster but she does not have oversight over day—to—day decisions. we are talking about hundreds of millions of pounds, tens of millions which went to offshore funds, one in the cayman islands and one in bermuda —— £10 million. one went
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into a venture called project bertie, invested into two retailers, such as freshers, which went bust, owing money to the taxpayer, and the other was brighthouse, which was controversial as they were said to be charging inflated rates to the poorest in the country. brighthouse sells goods for a weekly payment rather than upfront amount. it can mean you pay a lot more for it whereas you might pay £644 for a washing machine from john lewis, the same one would cost more than £1700 from them. they are small investments but still controversial. looking at the wider picture, clearly most of the people we're talking about in the documents are extraordinarily wealthy, so why does this matter to ordinary individuals who can't even begin to imagine these sums? ordinary people, even well—paid bbc people like you and i can well—paid bbc people like you and i
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ca n co nve rt well—paid bbc people like you and i can convert money in the offshore trusts. you need a lot to make it worthwhile, you need a law firm to make sure it is legally watertight. a lawsuit firm like appleby, where these documents have come from —— a law firm. corporations can take advantage of their familiarity with the legal structures to cut their tax bill and enjoy looser regulation. not for the likes of you and i. if tax is cut for some people it implies that it is going to be higherfor others. it implies that it is going to be higher for others. exactly, this is why it is in public interest because in times of austerity, if we aren't getting the tax that we should from companies and the wealthy, the rest of us have to pay more. thank you for joining of us have to pay more. thank you forjoining us. the labour leaderjeremy corbyn has tweeted his response to the news, saying:
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iamjoined by i am joined by annelise dodds. what is your response to what has emerged? well i'm obviously very concerned to hear about these revelations but sadly i'm not particularly surprised. we previously had other leagues, the panama lea ks and previously had other leagues, the panama leaks and now the paradise papers and we are sadly seeing that a lot of taxes being avoided through measures we could tighten up if we had greater transparency. when you say quite easily, what are you thinking? for example, we work in acting the finance act in the commons, i don't want to go into the technicalities but labour suggested that fought non—doms, they would need to declare where they had a trust, and how much tax they were not bringing in because they had a
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trust. this scandal that is breaking now is about offshore trusts. there would be things we could have done last week. the government didn't agree and blocked it. we're going to keep pushing for greater transparency because i think ultimately what happens, when these schemes come to light, that's what tends to stop them because people don't want to be associated with them. they know that ultimately they would fail the neighbour test, whether ordinary people would accept this approach, and they wouldn't. you talk about things that could have been done last week. wouldn't it be fairto have been done last week. wouldn't it be fair to say that things could have been done before 2010, when labour were in government for 13 yea rs ? labour were in government for 13 years? absolutely will both -- although looking internationally we had quite an active approach, working with european countries to get rid of many harmful tax schemes. i think it's also the case, and i wouldn't absolve label of responsibility, but it really is the
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case that the strength of the offshore economy has increased substantially in recent years. a lot of high net worth individuals also have at least some of their funds in tax havens. it has become a more common part of the british economy u nfortu nately over recent common part of the british economy unfortunately over recent years. could labour have tightened up more in the past, yes, but now we must focus on what the solutions are. they are within our grasp. another area where again we are pushing the government for more action, to get the british associated tax havens to open up their books, to share data about companies and trusts with british tax authorities. that hasn't happened as it should have done. thank you forjoining us. you can also get more information on the bbc news website. now we can bring you up to date on
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events in texas. we can show you live pictures from the scene. there has been a serious shooting incident at sutherland springs. this is the scene above the baptist church where the shooting incident has taken place. it's difficult from this level to see the amount of activity that there is on the ground but certainly the reports i've been reading over the last half an hour suggest a huge amount of police activity, that other emergency services are there as well. certainly one report quoted in the last few moments was of a senior police officer on the ground at the scene, talking about possibly as many as 27 people having been killed in the shooting. i think the wording was "at least 27". barbara
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plett—usher is monitoring events from washington. what more is known at this stage of what is known and the scale of this? really we don't have very much information at this point, it's quite chaotic and the information is coming out in bits and pieces. we contacted some fbi personnel on the ground who said there were multiple casualties and they believe there was only one shooter although that was not confirmed. they couldn't say anything about a motive. piecing together what we can from other reports, it sounds as if this took place in a community called sutherland springs, about 50 kilometres south—east of san antonio, around noon. the person who carried out the attack walked into the church and opened fire, clearly killing and wounding quite a lot of people, if the reports are true. but we don't know who the person was or the motive. we also know that
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emergency personnel are coming to the scene in large numbers, also helicopters to take away, to airlift out of those who have been injured, since there seemed to have been many casualties. some response from president trump who is on a foreign trip injapan, president trump who is on a foreign trip in japan, tweeting, president trump who is on a foreign trip injapan, tweeting, may god be with the people of sutherland springs. the fbi and lloyd forstmann are on the scene. i am monitoring the situation from japan. —— law enforcement. the gunman is reported to have died at the incident, as far as reports suggest? that is being reported and it sounds as if in that case there was one attacker but we don't have more information. we are going to stay with the pictures. barbara plett—usher in washington. andy moore is with me in the studio following the various different news
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agencies, as one does in these situations. what have you gleaned?” can add a bit more colour. this is a relatively small church in a rural location near san antonio. normally the congregation would only be about 50, 60 people. so if the reports are accurate, that at least 27 people died and over 20 injured, that would suggest nearly everybody in the church was injured in some way. there are reports from the us media that this may have been a family dispute of some sort, that the gunman killed members of his own family before turning the gun on other people but i should emphasise that they are only reports at the moment and it hasn't been confirmed. as we can see from the tv pictures, a large response by the emergency services, a lot of police vehicles and ambulances. the local medical
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centre has taken a number of casualties. they are talking about numbers. some people were airlifted for medical attention. this happened about two hours ago. just as the morning church service was ending. 0k, morning church service was ending. ok, thank you. we will keep you up—to—date with various information as the newswires are bringing a small the time in terms of what has happened. i'm looking again at the tweet by donald trump that barbara referenced. he is touring asia and the moment, monitoring the situation from japan. may god be with the people of sutherland springs. there is the scene once again above
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the baptist church in sutherland springs, texas. domestic political matters now. theresa may's most senior minister has denied a claim that police found pornography on his computer during a raid on his office nine years ago. damian green, the first secretary of state, said the allegation made by a former police chief, bob quick, was "completely untrue" and a "political smear". he strongly denied that pornography was found and said police had never reported this to him at the time. mr quick, a former assistant commissioner in the metropolitan police — has told the bbc he stands by the claim and is to take part in a whitehall inquiry into allegations against mr green. our political correspondent iain watson reports he is one of theresa may's most senior and most trusted ministers, but damian green's reputation is under threat. he's already being investigated by whitehall officials over allegations he acted improperly towards a young journalist, claims he denies. and now, an allegation that
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pornography was found on a computer in his house of commons office nearly ten years ago. this claim dates from 2008, when his office was raided by police, investigating leaks from the home office. these two have never seen eye to eye since then, bob quick was the man in charge of that investigation, and the main, though not the only source, alleging that pornographic material was found. there is no suggestion that any of the material was illegal. damian green is a staunch ally of the prime minister, and her close friend, her deputy in all but name. and he's hugely influential behind—the—scenes here in downing street, during important cabinet committees, not least on brexit. he is notjust fighting for his reputation, he is battling hard for his political life. and bob quick‘s successor
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at the metropolitan police has told the bbc he had no knowledge of the pornography allegations. but bob quick says he stands by his story and will present evidence to the whitehall enquiry into damian green tomorrow. this conservative mp believes that's the correct process, and allegations from a confidential police investigation should never have been made public. what we're having in relation to damian, who i said should have been suspended, so there was a proper enquiry, this would have formed part of that enquiry. instead, we are pretty much having trial by the newspapers, and this is not acceptable. but allegations of wrongdoing aren't confined to one political party. jeremy corbyn answered questions for the first time on why kelvin hopkins had been appointed to his shadow cabinet after he was reprimanded over claims of improper behaviour. he had been reprimanded.
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the case had been closed. i thought it reasonable to appoint him, albeit for a short time, to the shadow cabinet. tomorrow party leaders will meet to discuss new ways of tackling harassment. so far there has been no sign that they are entirely in control of events. and there's some more developing news tonight. our political correspondent iain watson is here. what's happened in the last half an hour? not a new allegation but a new development, in the mail on sunday, alex story was suggesting he'd been in some way made to feel uncomfortable during a meeting in 2001 with the man who later became a conservative whip, chris pincher. he suggested that the slip into something more comfortable in his presence, initially comparing it to some kind of carry on routine. he
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said he was shocked but not desperately shocked. less than 24 hours after the article appeared, chris pincher has stepped aside from the government whip's office. he's referred himself to the new internal investigatory procedures inside the tory party, which were updated this week, and has referred himself to the police for investigation. normally the way these things work, people who have had something less than a people who have had something less thana criminal people who have had something less than a criminal element of proof would perhaps go to the party be investigated or the whips office but clearly in this climate it would be inappropriate, some would say, for him to stay in the whips office. what's intriguing is that he has also referred himself to the police, mr pincher. so far he has denied any wrongdoing. in terms of the other developments today, damian green and whatjeremy corbyn has said, where do we stand? i think again, we've
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got quite a difficult hierarchy of claims and sometimes this is shoved together, the newspapers want to fill the front pages. clearly there are some serious allegations to be investigated and beneath that level we've got frankly simply ministerial careers on the line. two investigations going on, mark garnier, perhaps people lost sight of that after the other allegations are being investigated by the cabinet office and tomorrow, damian green, his case is being investigated by the cabinet office, initially over allegations by the journalist kate maltby, which he in eyes but now we have bob quick, investigating damian green over unrelated matters nearly a decade ago, he is giving evidence as well. clearly he's not going to give a positive character reference to damian green. i think there will be some fear around westminster about what happens next, theresa may is
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trying to get on the front foot, tomorrow having a cross—party discussion on getting agreement on an independent body to hear complaints in the future. we get the impression that politicians of all parties don't feel in control of events. thank you forjoining us. let's just bring you up—to—date on events in texas, a developing story ata events in texas, a developing story at a baptist church in sutherland springs, where, in the last two hours or so there has been a very serious shooting incident. the number of casualties varies depending on the different news agency copy that you read but afp we re agency copy that you read but afp were reporting in the last few moments that at least 20 people were dead after a shooting at the church. abc news was citing a law enforcement official as saying 20 we re enforcement official as saying 20 were killed and 30 wounded. but then other media outlets were citing unnamed officials who gave a d'acol as high potentially as 27. —— gave
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an estimate. a lone gunmen appeared to have walked into the church and started shooting indiscriminately. the shooter was reportedly killed. the shooter was reportedly killed. the scene you are looking at which is above the church, is of a small community, about dirty miles south—east of san antonio. it's difficult to pick it out from this fight, as you'd expect in these circumstances, the number of police vehicles at the scene is many. there have been many ambulances as well, and fire their cause too —— fire vehicles. helicopters arrived to airlift people away from the shooting incident. you can see reference to what donald trump has had to say on your screen. he's currently in asia but has tweeted, may god be with the people of sutherland springs... japan is the first stop off on his
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asian tour. still more information coming in from the scene in texas and will keep you up to date in the next half an hour. before that, the weather. temperatures will continue to fall away sharply this evening, looks like it will be a cold one for many bonfire night celebrations. should be dry for most, away from the coast which will have a few showers to begin with. later, really turning quite cold those winds fall under the clear skies. the blue colour indicating sharp frost for central, northern and eastern areas. down 2-5d northern and eastern areas. down 2—5d in places. a cold, frosty start for monday. mist an fault as well. sunshine for many southern, central and eastern parts but a change taking place across the west,

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