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Nawaz Sharif Debarred, but Who will Cage the Fat and Mighty Corrupt Indians Featured in the Panama Papers?

Will the stature of India's mighty postpone the probe caused by Panama papers indefinitely?

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Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Wikimedia
  • Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif constrained out of office, on account of the Panama Papers
  • Sharif’s leave comes after a long-drawn fight in court which finished ominously for him
  • This raised questions about whether India’s mighty are at all prone to meet a similar destiny that Nawaz Sharif did

New Delhi, August 3, 2017: Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson of Iceland and Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan are similar in ways that they cannot be proud of. Both of them are prime ministers who were constrained out of office, on account of the Panama Papers, which is an investigative news coverage activity that revealed offshore shell organizations and tax shelters in light of spilled records from Panamanian law office Mossack Fonseca.

Be that as it may, while Gunnlaugsson surrendered, not long after the Panama Papers report prompted dissents in Iceland a year ago, Sharif’s leave today arrives after a fight that was long-drawn in court which finished ominously for him.

Also read: Chat With Donald Trump won’t Save PM Nawaz Sharif from Panama Papers scandal, says Imran Khan

In India as well, there is not lack of prominent names that were included in the list of Panama Papers. Indian Panama incorporates best legal counselor Harish Salve, industrialist Gautam Adani’s senior sibling Vinod Adani, and Bollywood hotshot Amitabh Bachchan. But contrasted with the speed at which Pakistan’s offices and judiciary followed up on the case of Sharif, is the pace of India on the subject of Panama Papers impressively slower?

Amitabh Bachchan was listed in Panama Papers. Wikimedia

The following is a passage from an article in Indian Express by Ritu Sarin in March 2017, one of the writers who was a part of the group exploring the Panama Papers.

“Nearly a year after The Indian Express published the Panama Papers, tax authorities have succeeded in obtaining 165 replies — partial or complete — from among 13 jurisdictions where Indian nationals had incorporated offshore companies through the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. According to data made available at the latest meeting of the Multi Agency Group (MAG) last month, the number of Indian clients of Mossack Fonseca, whose PAN numbers had been traced, has swelled to 424. Of these, 205 have accepted links to offshore entities named in the global expose. However, 60 other Indians named in the Panama Papers remain untraced.”

Sarin feels that it would be unfair to put an allegation on the Indian agencies of being relaxed in tackling the Panama Papers.
Rita Sarin added that she had hardly noticed the tax department act in such a swift manner. She compared investing offshore to the long process of peeling an onion, where you have to go layer by layer.

It is a fact that Pakistan managed to finish the Nawaz Sharif Panama case in barely a year, but what about the procedures on the prominent names of Indians displayed in the Panama Papers?

Sarin mentioned that all the individuals named in the Panama Papers, including the famous people were sent a notice. There will be a PIL in the Supreme Court. Notwithstanding when the duty dept is giving status reports to the SC. So in the event that they are not obliged to let even the SC know, there is no compulsion on them to tell us. Tax probes are exceptionally private, that is the idea of a duty examination. We will just become more acquainted with when individuals are prosecuted.

“All I can say is that each one of the people named by us were given tax notices. They must have been subsequently summoned and the case is in progress. Whenever there was a requirement or a suspicion of tax evasion, those requests were sent to the offshore jurisdictions. So that process is underway” she elaborated.

Indeed, even if the jokes proceed with it is worth asking if India’s mighty are prone to meet a similar destiny as Nawaz Sharif. Or, on the other hand, will their position and status postpone this test indefinitely?

-prepared by Harsimran Kaur of Newsgram. Twitter Hkaur1025

 

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Paradise Papers: Biggest Financial Leak exposes 714 Indian Links, Amitabh Bachchan also on the list

According to the Express, this cache of 13.4 million documents named "Paradise Papers" tumbled out 18 months after Panama Papers: both sets of data were obtained by the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung.

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India ranks 19th among 180 countries whose citizens and companies sheltered their wealth in secretive tax havens abroad. The list also includes names of individuals like Amitabh Bachchan. IANS

New Delhi, November 6, 2017 : India ranks 19th among 180 countries whose citizens and companies sheltered their wealth in secretive tax havens abroad, according to a fresh global investigation, the Paradise Papers, whose first lot of revelations were published on Monday.

“In all, there are 714 Indians in the tally,” said the Indian Express in a front-page banner story done as part of a world-wide probe carried out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
“Interestingly, it is an Indian company, Sun Group, founded by Nand Lal Khemka, that figures as Appleby’s second largest client internationally, with as many as 118 different offshore entities,” the Express added.
The revelations in the Paradise Papers form part of the largest ever leak of financial data involving two companies, Bermuda’s Appleby and Singapore’s Asiaciti, which helped the global rich and powerful, including from India, to move their money abroad.
The Express said that among Appleby’s Indian clients were several prominent corporates and companies which subsequently came under the scrutiny of investigating agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (EF).
These include firms in the Sun-TV-Aircel-Maxis case; Essar-Loop 2G case; SNS-Lavalin in which Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was named and then cleared; the Rajasthan ambulance scam which has recently been routed to the CBI and which names a company called Ziquista Healthcare (Sachin Pilot and Karti Chidambaram were early honorary/independent directors of the firms respectively); and fresh financial links in a CBI case against YSR Congress chief Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, the Express sai
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha’s name figures in the record because of his past association with Omidyar Network, so does the name of R.K. Sinha, BJP Rajya Sabha member of Parliament, in Malta offshore companies’ list. Sinha and others had denied any wrongdoing in response to Express queries. Sinha also sent tweets on Monday saying full disclosure had been made to the authorities.
 secretive tax havens abroad,
“Besides corporates, the data revealed details of individuals as well; Amitabh Bachchan’s shareholding in a Bermuda company acquired before the 2004 Liberalised Remittance Scheme kicked in; corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and film star Sanjay Dutt’s wife who figures under her former name Dilnashin,” the daily said.
According to the Express, this cache of 13.4 million documents named “Paradise Papers” tumbled out 18 months after Panama Papers: both sets of data were obtained by the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung.
In India, as it did with Panama Papers, the Express investigated these records – involving Indians and Indian entities — for over 10 months to come up with the India findings which it said will be published in over 40 investigative reports beginning on Monday. (IANS)

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Exposed! Paradise Papers reveal Tax-haven Secrets of the Super-rich! Even Queen Elizabeth II hasn’t been spared!

The publication of this investigation for which more than 380 journalists have spent a year combing through data that stretches back 70 years comes at a time of growing global income inequality.

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Paradise Papers expose tax haven secrets of ultra-wealthy, including Queen Elizabeth. The details come from a leak of 13.4 million files that expose the global environments in which tax abuses can thrive - and the complex and seemingly artificial ways the wealthiest corporations can legally protect their wealth. VOA

London, November 6, 2017 : A huge new leak of financial documents has revealed how the powerful and ultra-wealthy including Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II’s private estate secretly invest vast amounts of cash in different offshore tax havens, media reports said on Monday.

The details come from a leak of 13.4 million files in the Paradise Papers on Sunday that expose the global environments in which tax abuses can thrive – and the complex and seemingly artificial ways the wealthiest corporations can legally protect their wealth.

The material which has come from two offshore service providers and the company registries of 19 tax havens was obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) with 100 other media organisations including the Guardian, the BBC and The New York Times.

Some of the revelations in the Paradise Papers include millions of pounds from Queen Elizabeth II’s private estate that has been invested in a Cayman Islands fund and some of her money that went to a retailer accused of exploiting poor families and vulnerable people.

Paradise Papers detail extensive offshore dealings by US President Donald Trump’s cabinet members advisers and donors including substantial payments from a firm co-owned by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law to the shipping group of the US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

The leak shows how social media giants Twitter and Facebook received millions in investments that can be traced back to Russian state financial institutions along with aggressive tax avoidance by multinational corporations including Nike and Apple.

It also includes information about a tax-avoiding Cayman Islands trust managed by the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief wealth manager.

The leak also includes how some of the biggest names in the film and TV industries protect their wealth with an array of offshore schemes and the complex offshore webs used by two Russian billionaires to buy stakes in Arsenal and Everton football clubs.

The disclosures will put pressure on world leaders including Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May who have both pledged to curb aggressive tax avoidance schemes.

The publication of this investigation for which more than 380 journalists have spent a year combing through data that stretches back 70 years comes at a time of growing global income inequality.

Offshore finance is about a place outside of one’s own nation’s regulations to which companies or individuals can reroute money assets or profits to take advantage of lower taxes reports the BBC.

These jurisdictions are known as tax havens to the layman or the more stately offshore financial centres (OFCs) to the industry. They are generally stable secretive and reliable often small islands but not exclusively so and can vary on how rigorously they carry out checks on wrongdoing. (IANS)

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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)