Glencore named in leaked tax files

A huge leak of 13.4 million documents from an offshore law firm and a trust company in Singapore is drawing comparisons to last year's Panama Papers scandal.

The documents, dubbed the Paradise Papers, were obtained by the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The papers "show how deeply the offshore financial system is entangled with the overlapping worlds of political players, private wealth and corporate giants," the ICIJ wrote on Sunday.

The names of more than 120 politicians in nearly 50 countries appear in the 1.4 terabyte data leak, along with figures from the worlds of sports and business.

The investigation has also uncovered documents relating to the movement of billions of dollars through Bermuda by the Australian arm of the global mining giant Glencore.

Glencore's Australian division moved billions of dollars through Bermuda using cross-currency interest rate swaps to try and minimise its tax liabilities, according to the documents.

An ATO spokeswoman said the tax office would analyse the data as part of a wider investigation into complex tax structures.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said the ATO was "on the front foot" in terms of investigating tax avoidance and had 13 companies under review.

"In some cases there will be people caught up in this who have done nothing illegal, and there's no suggestion of that I'm sure, but what it does do is shine a further light on the way structures are put in place," he told ABC radio.

The German newspaper, which began reporting on the content of the documents late on Sunday, said they show how big companies and the super wealthy hide their money using tax havens.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung and ICIJ said the bulk of the documents were from the prestigious offshore law firm Appleby, which was founded in Bermuda and has offices in several other locations.

ICIJ said clients include financial institutions, such as Citigroup and Bank of America, as well as technology giants Apple and Uber, and brands like Nike.

Appleby calls itself "one of the world's largest providers of offshore legal services", and admitted last month that it had been hacked.

The cache of documents also includes half a million records from Asiaciti Trust, a firm based in Singapore that specialises in off-shore services for clients.