Madiba trust mystery
The curious tale of Mandela's Mad Trust and the Paradise Papers
The Paradise Papers have exposed a trust, apparently set up by Nelson Mandela’s lawyer under Isle of Man law, for the former president to make payments to people. It’s a curious tale
It seemed unlikely that the hunt to trace all the funds belonging to SA’s first democratic president, the late Nelson Mandela, would lead to the Isle of Man — a tiny island in the Irish Sea, struggling to shake off its notoriety as a tax haven. However, the Paradise Papers — the leak of 13.4m documents from 19 "secrecy jurisdictions" obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists — contains references to a mysterious offshore account held on Mandela’s behalf. The first inkling of this trust emerges in the leaks when, in May 2015, the Bermuda-based law firm Appleby was asked by the executors of Mandela’s estate to provide a "legal opinion on the validity of an Isle of Man Trust, known as the Mad Trust." But the circumstances of exactly how the Mad Trust — a reference to Mandela’s clan name, Madiba — was to be established in one of the most secretive tax jurisdictions has been hotly contested in court in recen...