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Colleges, including Pitt and Penn, flock to offshore investments

Debra Erdley
| Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, 5:51 p.m.

More than 100 U.S. colleges and universities, including two Pennsylvania powerhouses, have taken a shine to secretive investments in tax havens in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, according to the so-called Paradise Papers.

The Guardian, a British news outlet, reports that the Paradise Papers identified the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh as investing portions of their multibillion endowments in such accounts.

The report is part of a continuing series on the Paradise Papers, a vast trove of leaked documents from an offshore law firm. To date, the documents have disclosed the identities of international business and political leaders and celebrities who have invested their holdings in heretofore secret offshore accounts that often bypass U.S. tax liability.

Both Pitt, with an endowment of $3.5 billion, and Penn which boasts $10.7 billion, were among the schools named in the recent reports. Pitt officials did not immediately return a request for comment.

Universities and colleges named in the Paradise Papers include private institutions such as Penn, Princeton, Columbia and Stanford as well as public universities such as Pitt, Rutgers and Ohio State.

Debra Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7996, derdley@tribweb.com or via Twitter @deberdley_trib

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