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Many Indians linked to hidden dealings offshore, reveal Panama Papers

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Image Source: indianexpress.com

New Delhi: A new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and more than 100 other news organisations around the globe reveal offshore links of some of the planet’s most prominent people, including over 500 from India.

“In terms of size, the Panama Papers is likely the biggest leak of inside information in history – more than 11.5 million documents – and it is equally likely to be one of the most explosive in the nature of its revelations,” the consortium said of its investigation published on Sunday.

In India, The Indian Express ran several pages of the investigation reports alleging among other names that bollywood superstarts Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai were directors in companies in Panama. The two did not immediately respond despite efforts to contact them. Rai’s media adviser told the newspaper that the information was false.

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 in 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 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 names of at least 33 people and companies blacklisted by the US 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.

Most of the services the offshore industry provides can be used for legal purpose and are by law-abiding customers.

But the documents show that banks, law firms and other offshore players often fail to follow legal requirements to make sure clients are not involved in criminal enterprises, tax dodging or political corruption.

The files show that these fixers and middlemen protect themselves and their clients by concealing suspect transactions. In some instances, they work to head off official investigations by backdating and destroying documents.

The Panama Papers make it clear that major banks are big drivers behind the creation of hard-to-trace companies in the British Virgin Islands, Panama and other offshore havens. The files list more than 15,600 paper companies that banks set up for clients who wanted to keep their finances under wraps, including hundreds created by international giants UBS and HSBC.

The disclosures from the law firm’s leaked files dramatically expand on previous leaks of offshore records that ICIJ and its reporting partners have revealed in the past four years.

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Journalist Behind the Panama Papers Killed in a Car Bomb

Caruana Galizia was recently described by the American news outlet Politico as a "one-woman WikiLeaks".

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Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device. (Representative image) Pixabay

Valletta, October 17, 2017 : A journalist who led the Panama Papers probe into corruption in Malta was killed on Monday in a car bomb near her residence, the media reported.

Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device, reports the Guardian.

A blogger whose posts often attracted more readers than the combined circulation of the country’s newspapers, Caruana Galizia was recently described by the American news outlet Politico as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”.

Her latest revelations accused Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and two of his closest aides, connecting offshore companies linked to the three men with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan.

No group or individual claimed responsibility for the attack, the Guardian reported.

Malta’s President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, called for calm. “In these moments, when the country is shocked by such a vicious attack, I call on everyone to measure their words, to not pass judgement and to show solidarity.”

ALSO READ Not Just Journalist Ram Chandra Chhatrapati, these 9 People too Bore the Brunt of Speaking Truth to Fight Corruption

In a statement, Muscat condemned the “barbaric attack”.

“Everyone knows Caruana Galizia was a harsh critic of mine,” said Muscat, adding “Both politically and personally, but nobody can justify this barbaric act in any way.”

He announced in parliament later on Monday that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officers were on their way to Malta to assist with the investigation, following his request for help from the US government.

According to local media reports, Caruana Galizia filed a police report 15 days ago to say that she had been receiving death threats.

The journalist posted her final blog on her Running Commentary website at 2.35 p.m. on Monday, and the explosion, which occurred near her home, was reported to police just after 3 p.m.

Over the last two years, her reporting had largely focused on revelations from the Panama Papers, a cache of 11.5 million documents leaked from the internal database of the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. (IANS)

 

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Amit Shah Rejects Allegation of Money Laundering on Son Jay Shah

"Where has money laundering been done? All the transactions happened through cheques and banks," claimed Amit Shah at an event.

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Amit Shah, BJP National President. Wikimedia

Ahmedabad, October 13, 2017 : Breaking his silence, BJP president Amit Shah rejected allegations of money laundering against his son Jay Shah whose company had reportedly recorded an extraordinary spike in business after the BJP came to power at the Centre, and asserted that it had not done any business with the government nor taken any kickbacks.

He also said that unlike the Congress, which had faced many corruption charges in the past, his son has shown courage to file a civil and criminal defamation suit on the allegations levelled against him and “invited a probe against himself” by this step.

“There is no money laundering involved in Jay’s company. This company is completely in commodity business, where turnover is more while the profit is less. We have exported bajra, corn and rice while coriander was imported. And after doing a turnover of Rs 80 crore, they don’t tell how much they made profit,” Amit Shah said at an “India Today” event “Gujarat Panchayat”.

Answering questions, he said that after making a turnover of Rs 80 crore, Jay made a loss of Rs 1.5 crore. “Where has money laundering been done? All the transactions happened through cheques and banks,” he said.

Asked about Jay Shah filing a defamation suit against the publication, Shah said: “Before answering your question I would like to ask you one thing. After Independence, how many corruption charges have been made against the Congress?

“Please understand this is not corruption. Many allegations of corruption were made against the Congress. Did it ever file a civil suit or defamation suit? No. Why they lacked such courage? Today Jay has filed a defamation as well as civil suit and is demanding a probe himself. Those who have the evidence can submit it to the court, and then the court will decide,” the BJP president said.

He said: “We have ourselves invited a probe and on the company issue I want to clarify that it has not done business with the government of even Re 1 nor taken any government land or tender. Neither has it received kickbacks as in the case of Bofors.”

When asked about Jay’s company securing unsecured loans, Shah said it was not unsecured loans. “It was a line of credit,” he added. (IANS)

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Lalu Yadav is Shamelessly Corrupt and a Fake Secular

The author Gaurav Tyagi asserts that Lalu’s party RJD, should be disbanded and a life ban should be imposed on Lalu plus his kin from pursuing political careers. Read on to know why!

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Lalu Yadav
Does Lalu Yadav portray himself as the ‘messiah’ of Muslims by aligning with fundamentalist Muslim preachers? Wikimedia


– by Gaurav Tyagi


New Delhi, September 5, 2017 : 
26th July witnessed a big political drama in India, when Nitish Kumar, the C.M. of Bihar submitted his resignation.

The government in Bihar was a coalition of three political parties; Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), Lalu Yadav’s RJD and Congress.

Nitish was back in the C.M’s chair, the very next day due to the support extended to his party, JD (U) by BJP to form the government in Bihar.

The coalition of the aforesaid three parties thereby collapsed, which annoyed Lalu Yadav, the head of RJD a lot.

Lalu Yadav hijacked the plank of secularism to indulge in blatant corruption and promote his family in politics.

Secularism implies the principle of separating government institutions as well as politicians from religion and religious figures. In India the meaning of secularism has entirely been altered by politicians like Lalu, who openly woo Muslim fundamentalists from Mosques and waste government funds in order to appease them.

Lalu keeps on harping upon keeping Muslims safe in Bihar. Maintenance of law and order is the foremost task of any elected government, what’s the big deal in it?

ALSO READ Dynasty syndrome: Lalu chosen as RJD chief for 9th time

Lalu’s politics involves developing vote banks from his caste comprising of Yadavs and Muslims.

He portrays himself as the ‘messiah’ of Muslims by aligning with fundamentalist Muslim preachers and gangsters like Shahbuddin.

Lalu never addresses the root cause of poverty and backwardness among Indian Muslims.
It is largely due to the community shunning of mainstream educational institutes and going to worthless madrasas, (Muslim religious schools) which primarily focus on students, rote learning of the Muslim holy book; Koran.

In the absence of modern knowledge, madrasa graduates are unable to improve their material prosperity and face the challenges of contemporary society.

The Ulemas or the Islamic scholars’ regressive attitude is reflected in the following statement of Maulana Samiul Haq, of the Haqqania madrasa, a prominent Deobandi madrasa; “Young minds are not for thinking. We catch them for the madrasas when they are young, and by the time they are old enough to think, they know what to think.”

Fake seculars like Lalu would never tell Muslims to study in proper schools because an educated Muslim can easily decipher the tricks played by such politicians.
A large number of illiterate or madrasa brand Muslims suit Lalu because then by showing the fear of BJP and Hindus, these Muslims can be easily turned into vote banks for his political party.

CBI, ED and other government agencies recently conducted large number of raids on Lalu and his family. They discovered Billions amassed by this so called ‘champion of oppressed’.

Lalu accumulated large number of farm-houses, land holdings, companies etc. in the name of his family comprising of his illiterate wife and 9 children; 7 daughters and 2 sons.

Both his sons, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav, are school drop-outs. The former was the deputy CM of Bihar with various ministerial portfolios, while the latter was the Health Minister of the province in the coalition government.

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Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav at a public event. Twitter

Lalu was declared guilty by the courts for his lead role in the Bihar fodder scam worth thousands of Crores. Lalu Yadav was jailed for 135 days in 1997 but he was lodged in a Bihar Military Police guest house with all comforts.

Before his incarceration, Lalu installed his uneducated wife Rabri Devi as the C.M. of Bihar. Lalu was jailed on various other occasions for his involvement in the aforementioned swindle.

Every time, Lalu was put in prison, he received 5 star hotel facilities and got bail easily. Lalu continued being the de facto C.M of Bihar by inducting his wife as the rubber- stamp C.M. of Bihar.

He was finally sentenced to a 5 year jail term in October 2013 by a special CBI court.
Instead of being in a jail, he is again out on bail, busy in enriching and establishing his progeny in politics.

A poster for Lalu Yadav’s political rally in Patna on Sunday, 27th August depicted one of Lalu’s foolish son as Lord Krishna while the other buffoon is shown as Arjun. Lalu’s daughter and Rajya Sabha M.P, Misa Bharti is depicted as the famous freedom fighter, Rani of Jhansi; Lakshmibai. Lalu and his wife Rabri are blessing their children in this poster.

What a mockery of historical and religious characters.

Lalu is saying that he and his family are being victimized. These utterances constitute ‘heights of shamelessness’.

Lalu indulged in blatant corruption and misuse of office for personal gains. On getting exposed he started parroting; this is a conspiracy of BJP and law would take its own course.

These terms in India mean that court cases would drag for 20-30 years. The politician will die but the court proceedings would still remain pending.
Classic example is Jayalalitha, the court cases against her were continuing since, 1996 but the final judgment was passed in 2017 after her death.

Lalu’s son, Tejashwi Prasad, the Ex-Deputy C.M of Bihar was a member of IPL cricket team, Delhi Daredevils for 4 years from 2008-2012.

ALSO READ Lalu’s son Tej Pratap faces his first electoral test in Mahua

During these 4 years, Tejashwi didn’t play a single game for Delhi Daredevils.

Which sporting team in the world would keep such a useless player in its squad?

Delhi Daredevils is owned by GMR group. This business house must be investigated, as to what were the compelling reasons behind continuous retention of this trash cricketer, who wasn’t competent to play even a single game during 4 seasons.

What were the financial benefits given to Tejashwi? Did the GMR group receive concessions from Lalu Yadav in exchange for keeping his son in Delhi Daredevils team? These are serious issues and need further investigations.

Misa Bharti, eldest daughter of Lalu Yadav is a Rajya Sabha M.P. She topped the MBBS examination of Patna Medical College Hospital during the late 90’s.

Misa never excelled in her classes, either at school or college. At her convocation, the presenter of the degree requested her not to treat any patients ever.

Lalu through his clout in Bihar first got her admission into MBBS and then deceptively made her a topper.

Misa Bharti after topping her MBBS studies and obtaining her medical degree did not work as a Doctor even for a single day, neither did she start her own medical practice.

This is humbug Lalu Yadav, the ‘self- styled’ protector of Muslims and ‘self- declared’ skipper of the Indian opposition political parties, comprising of so called secular forces but in reality just corrupt family controlled political dynasties.

Lalu and his political clan should be imprisoned for at least a minimum period of 10 years with provisions of no bail plus hard labor in the jail.

All undeclared properties; including land parcels, bank accounts, commercial businesses, residences etc. unearthed by the authorities during raids on Lalu and his family must be confiscated by the central government.

Lalu’s party RJD, which is nothing more than a corrupt family enterprise should be disbanded and a life ban imposed on Lalu plus his kin from pursuing political careers.

An exemplary example needs to be made of this corrupt, Lalu so, as to deter other existing as well as budding ‘Lalu Prasad Yadavs’, abounding in the Indian political system from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.

 

– The author is a Master Degree holder in International Tourism & Leisure Studies from Netherlands and is based in China.