Elections 2012: Leaked Documents Link Romney to Adelson, Casinos, Cigarettes

Leaked documents containing information about Mitt Romney’s finances could make life awkward for the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

Mitt Romney’s private equity firm, Bain Capital has been revealed to use obscure techniques to avoid paying U.S. taxes by using Cayman Islands-based funds according to recently leaked documents. Photo: MittRomney.com

Website Gawker has obtained and published more than 950 pages of internal financial documents for 21 cryptically named entities in which Mitt Romney had invested more than $10 million as of 2011.

Almost all of the documents are affiliated with Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney co-founded in 1984 and ran until his departure in 1999; many of them are offshore funds based in the Cayman Islands.

The documents wer and posted by Gawker at a time of unusually high interest in Romney’s finances. Though they are not nearly as revealing as the years of tax returns he refuses to release might be, they still have enough information and detail to make Romney uncomfortable, writes The Huff Post.

The documents show he has money indirectly invested in companies on which the Mormon church might frown and also highlight the lengths to which his complicated investments are shielded from taxes.

As tax experts pour over at least 950 pages of documents provided by Bain, the papers could potentially reignite the debate regarding Romney’s tax history and how much exactly he pays on his estimated $250 million wealth.

For example, Mitt Romney is invested in Sankaty High Yield Partners II LP, a debt fund affiliated with the private-equity firm Bain Capital, which Romney co-founded. Sankaty has loaned money to a variety of questionable companies, including the now-embattled Las Vegas Sands Corp., according to documents obtained by Gawker.

Gawker said Thursday that the files ‘shed a great deal of light’ on Bain’s funds.

According to Daily Mail, a spokesman for Bain told media organizations that the release of the data was an ‘unauthorized disclosure.’

The document released also shine a light on Romney’s indirect investments, through Sankaty, in companies that may not exactly jibe with his squeaky clean Mormon image.

In addition to Las Vegas Sands, the fund also lent money to American Media, the parent company of the National Enquirer, as well as other gambling-related businesses and a cigarette company.

The Mormon church opposes gambling, including lotteries, and encourages others to join the church in “opposing the legalization and government sponsorship of any form of gambling,” according to its website. The church also offers programs to help its members quit smoking.

However, some in the financial media quickly dismissed the importance of all of the documents Gawker released, citing the public availability of much of the information they contained and the lack of any unusually damning information.

“There is nothing in there that will inform your opinion of Mitt Romney,” writes CNN Money.

It appears that folks looking for a bombshell are going to be disappointed,” wrote Joe Weisenthal at Business Insider.

Pressed by repeated questions about his tax history, Romney has not confirmed nor denied whether he had ever paid less than 13.9 percent tax.

“I just have to say given the challenges that America faces — 23 million people out of work, Iran about to become nuclear, one out of six Americans in poverty — the fascination with taxes I paid I find to be very small minded compared to the broad issues we face,” Romney said in June.

“But I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past 10 years I never paid less than 13 percent. I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that.”

The Bain Capital Fund VII files disclose that the fund invested in such companies as Burger King, Bombardier Recreational Products, and Warner Music — all entities that Bain had publicly invested in over recent years.

Another Bain investment fund, Sankaty High Yield Partners II, based in Delaware, held nearly $3 million in loans to Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands.

Adelson is the largest public donor in this year’s presidential race, giving more than $45 million to super political action committees benefiting Romney and other GOP candidates.

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