Facebook and Twitter received major investments from a firm with ties to Kremlin-owned corporations, a new trove of confidential documents revealed.
That cache of confidential documents, called the Paradise Papers, was obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. The documents were reviewed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and a series of news outlets.
The documents reveal for the first time that Kremlin-owned corporations VTB Bank and Gazprom helped fund DST Global’s investment in Facebook and Twitter. DST Global, helmed by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, received $191 million from VTB Bank — part of which was used to obtain a large stake in Twitter, ICIJ reported.
For its investment in Facebook, DST Global partnered with an offshore company heavily funded by Russian-owned energy corporation, Gazprom.
DST Global previously owned a more than 8 percent stake in Facebook and 5 percent stake in Twitter before selling its shares.
There is no indication that DST Global helped these Kremlin-linked firms gain influence over Facebook or Twitter.
But these new details are being revealed as both companies face federal investigations into how the respective platforms were used to interfere in the 2016 presidential elections in the U.S.
Milner is also tied to Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is a high-level adviser to the president. Both Kushner and Milner own a stake in real estate startup Cadre. That investment raised eyebrows when it was revealed Kushner failed to disclose his ownership interest on his government disclosure forms when he joined the White House.
“It is worth noting that as a passive investor, DST Global themselves had no voting rights or board seat,“ a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “The investment was made eight years ago and DST Global has since sold their holdings in Facebook — their stake ended five years ago when we went public.”
We’ve reached out to DST Global and Twitter for comment.
The documents also reveal that Apple was seeking out a new tax shelter around Europe and the Caribbean. In an email obtained by the ICIJ, an Apple lawyer inquired about whether moving to one of six tax havens would allow its Irish subsidiary to “conduct management activities ... without being subject to taxation in these jurisdictions.”
The company recently came under fire for striking a deal with the Irish government that allowed it to avoid paying virtually any taxes on close to all of its profits in many of its global markets. The European Commission ordered Apple to pay €13 billion in back taxes.
We’ve reached out to Apple for comment.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.