“Panama Papers” exposes money laundering among politicians and celebrities
An international media coalition exposed secret offshore share holdings of world leaders and celebrities including Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif,India’s biggest listed real estate developer DLF’s owner KP Singh, business tycoon Gautam Adani’s brother Vinod, actors Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwaria Rai. The huge cache of documents has also exposed the secret offshore dealings of the aides of Russian president Vladimir Putin, world leaders and celebrities including Barcelona forward Lionel Messi.
In India, Indian Express took part in the multi-country investigation and exposed the Indian celebrities and leaders.
“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. Her 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,” the English daily wrote.
Experts say that Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had laws which states Indian citizen are not allowed to start an overseas entity before 2003.
It was in 2004, that RBI has allowed individuals to transfer funds up to $25,000 a year under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS). But it never allowed Indian citizen to set up companies on foreign land.
The documents were seemingly accessed from Mossack Fonseca, a law firm and 150 politicians from 50 countries were exposed.
More than 500 Indians were listed on the firm’s queue of offshore companies, various trusts and charity foundations.
The list also had two politicians including Shishir Bajoria from Kolkata and former chief of the Delhi unit of Loksatta Party Anurag Kejriwal. The late Mumbai gang lord Iqbal Mirchi also figures in the list.
More than 100 media groups were involved in the investigation, spread over several months.
Pakistani PM also owns four offshore companies, to invest money in Panama. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi also were exposed during the investigation.
The vast tranche of records was obtained from an anonymous source by German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and shared with select media outlets worldwide by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).