Panama papers reveal hidden wealth of world celebrities, Amitabh, Aishwarya figure in list
New Delhi, April 4: At a time when Modi government is doing its best to bring back black money stashed in safe overseas, a shocking revelation has come to light.
A huge data leak from a law firm in Panama says that many world renouned people have parked their money in the tax haven. In the list, name of over 500 Indians including top Bollywood celebrities, politicians have also been included.
This shocking information has come to fore in a massive leak of 11.5 million tax documents compiled by a Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonesca. Renouned firm which has its office in more than 35 countries, reportedly reveals the hidden offshore dealings of world celebrities.
Many world politicians including Russian president Vladimir Putin, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jinping are in the list.
From India, the firm inludes name of Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, DLF's K P Singh and Apollo Tyres promoter.
A report in the Indian Express reads, "Amitabh Bachchan was appointed director in at least four offshore shipping companies set up in 1993. Similarly, Aishwarya Rai and her family members were registered in 2005 as directors of Amic Partners Limited.
Report further writes, "Rai status was later changed to share holder before the company was dissolved in 2008. DLF promoters KP Singh acquired a company registered in British Virgin Islands in 2010. His family's three offshore entities hold almost $10 million".
In 2004, India legally allowed investments abroad by companies, and later individuals, through the Liberalised Remittance Scheme.
Also named were Sameer Gehlaut of India Bulls, for properties owned by Bahamas, Jersey and the United Kingdom, and KP Singh of DLF about companies registered in British Virgin Islands.
Vinod Adani, elder brother of Industrialist Gautam Adani and politican Shishir Bajoria from West Bengal and Anurag Kejriwal of Loksatta Party were also alleged to have set up companies in tax havens. Bajoria told the paper that that "erroneous beneficial owner information" was given by mistake.
The Indian Express said it had carried out the investigations spread over eight month with several global newspapers. Many of the other persons named in the Express reports responded, some denying while others maintaining that they had worked within the laws of the country.
According to the ICIJ, "the leak exposes the offshore holdings of 12 current and former world leaders (including Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's family members) and reveals how associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin secretly shuffled as much as $2 billion through banks and shadow companies."
The files contain new details about major scandals ranging from England's most infamous gold heist, an unfolding political money laundering affair in Brazil and bribery allegations convulsing FIFA, the body that governs international soccer, the consortium said.
They also provide details of the hidden financial dealings of 128 other politicians and public officials around the world and show how a global industry of law firms and big banks sells financial secrecy to fraudsters and drug traffickers as well as billionaires, celebrities and sports stars.
"The Panama Papers expose offshore companies controlled by the prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, the king of Saudi Arabia and the children of the president of Azerbaijan. They also include the names of at least 33 people and companies blacklisted by the U.S. government because of evidence that they've done business with Mexican drug lords, terrorist organisations like Hezbollah or rogue nations, including North Korea and Iran."
The leaked data, the ICIJ said, pertains to over nearly 40 years from the late 1970s through the end of 2015. It allows a never-before-seen view inside the offshore world - providing a day-to-day, decade-by-decade look at how dark money flows through the global financial system, breeding crime and stripping national treasuries of tax revenues.
The leaked records - which were reviewed by a team of more than 370 journalists from nearly 80 countries - come from a little-known but powerful law firm based in Panama, Mossack Fonseca, that has branches in London, Beijing, Miami, Zurich and more than 35 other places around the globe.
The firm is one of the world's top creators of shell companies, corporate structures that can be used to hide ownership of assets. The law firm's leaked internal files contain information on 214,000 offshore companies connected to people in 200 countries and territories.
The data includes emails, financial spreadsheets, passports and corporate records revealing the secret owners of bank accounts and companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions, from Nevada to Hong Kong to the British Virgin Islands.
It is the largest cross-border media collaboration ever undertaken. Journalists working in more than 25 languages dug into Mossack Fonseca's inner affairs and traced the secret dealings of the law firm's customers around the world. They shared information and hunted down leads generated by the leaked files using corporate filings, property records, financial disclosures, court documents and interviews with money laudering experts and law-enforcement officials.
(With inputs from IANS)