According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung relatives of high-ranking Chinese officials have been using personal investment companies in an attempt to stay anonymous.
Among the names listed in the documents are the brother-in-law of Chinese president Xi Jinping, as well as the son, daughter and son-in-law of former premier Wen Jiabao.
Documents seen by the paper show western banks, including Deutsche Bank, UBS and Credit Suisse, have been co-operating with Chinese clients to create and maintain discreet banking structures in foreign tax havens.
Deutsche Bank told the Süddeutsche Zeitung its customers would "settle their affairs fully and abide by all tax laws and reporting obligations."
The documents apparently list more than 21,000 offshore companies linked to clients from China and Hong Kong.
Using family members‘ names on off-shore accounts appears to be relatively common among China’s elite, the paper said. The practice allows high-profile figures to distance themselves from controversy in the case of leaks.
The revelations come from a large file leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) back in 2011. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, it has been analysing documents relating to Chinese banking activities since the summer of last year.