It's not just the tax secrets of the wealthy that are coming to light thanks to the leaked The Paradise Papers but the way the wealthy chose to spend their money.

Nelson Mandela

One of the more shocking stories to come out of the release of the 13.4 million leaked documents which have already exposed the tax secrets of the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is the discovery that Nelson Mandela gave money to the wife of a dictator.

Best-loved politician

The late president of South Africa, who died in 2013, is still remembered as one of the world's best-loved politicians.

The Paradise Papers have revealed that Mandela's lawyer, Ismail Ayob, established a trust as a repository for donations the president had been receiving.

Paradise Papers

The Paradise Papers reveal that the trust's registered office was the Isle of Man, which is located midway between the British mainland and Ireland. According to South Africa's Financial Mail newspaper, the lawyer claimed that Mandela “wanted the trust created so that he could give away money to people abroad, who'd been 'good'.”

Dictator's wife

One of the recipients was none other than Margot Honecker, the wife of East German dictator Erich Honecker. According to the lawyer, Margot Honecker, known as the “Purple Witch” because of the colour of her hair rinses, was given money because “Mandela said he'd like to assist her.”

The dictator

Her husband Erich Honecker led communist East Germany for nearly two decades until shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of East Germany and the resulting reunification of Germany.

Honecker's East Germany, known as the German Democratic Republic, was anything but democratic despite the name.

Secret police

The dictatorship, which was kept in place by a 90,000 strong secret police force known as the Stasi, was known for its cruelty and deprivation. Due to the lack of freedom large numbers of East Germany's citizens tried to escape to the west but many were shot dead by East German border guards.


Considering Nelson Mandela's own history of 27 years imprisonment because of his fight against apartheid in South Africa it is surprising that he would have wanted to support a former dictator's wife. It is known that far from needing the money from Mandela's funds the former dictator's wife was receiving a state pension from the government of the reunified Germany and living comfortably in her new home in Chile.