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The German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung obtained the files and shared them with 95 other media organisations around the world.

The Mercedes star's social media account shows him using the plane to jet off to holidays across the globe, while he has also posed on board with his two bulldogs, Roscoe and Coco.

The accountancy firm EY and Appleby, the law firm at the centre of the Paradise Papers leaks, helped Hamilton and others set up seemingly artificial leasing businesses through which they rented their own jets from themselves.

This year’s Sunday Times Rich List put his personal wealth at £131 million.

He said when it was published: ‘I race in 19 different countries, so I earn my money in 20 different places and I pay tax in several different places, and I pay a lot here as well.‘I am contributing to the country and, not only that, I help keep a team of more than 1,000 people employed.

Any private jet purchased outside the European Union is subject to 20% VAT, in order to move freely around the continent.

Under UK and EU legislation he would have been entitled to a VAT rebate on the jet if it was to be used purely for business purposes.Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton 'avoided' paying VAT on his £16.5million private jet, the Paradise Papers have revealed.The 32-year-old, who won his fourth world title last week, received a £3.3million refund for the Bombardier Challenger 605, which was imported into the Isle of Man.However, documents suggest that around a third of Hamilton's journeys were for private trips.The Isle of Man's government took steps to implement tax avoidance schemes that have enabled the world's super-rich to get tax breaks on jets.However, this loophole is easily exploited by owners leasing the planes to themselves to avoid paying tax.

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