PANDORA PAPERS REVEAL MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ILLEGALLY HOARDED BY PUBLIC FIGURES

The documents dubbed as Pandora papers was a result of a partnership of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), an organisation that comprises of the BBC and The Guardian in the UK, The Indian Express from India and 150 other media outlets. It is a follow-up of the Panama Papers revealed in 2016, by the same group. They claim to have access to over 11 million files that are confidential, which proves illegal financial dealings of the richest people in the world. The paper has names of over 380 Indian nationals that possess trusts around the world, including major figures like Sachin Tendulkar. Indian national daily, The Indian Express has been part of the investigation and has been revealing the names in a phased manner. So far over 60 prominent individuals have been approved with their documents and files that were investigated by the journalists.

The papers reveal how the rich who are already mostly under the radar of agencies both private and governmental, set up complex networks of “multi-layered trusts for estate planning, in jurisdictions which are loosely regulated for tax purposes, but characterized by air-tight secrecy laws”, as described by the daily. Here is a brief listing and description of those revealed in the investigation.

Sachin Tendulkar, along with family names

Indian cricketer and former Member of parliament named in the Panama Papers investigation. They are found to be beneficiaries of an offshore entity in the British Virgin Islands which was liquidated in 2016.

Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s close associates in the Panama list

The Pandora papers reveal Imran Khan’s close allies including ministers, their families, and others owning huge assets like companies and trusts adding to millions of dollars. Pakistan’s Finance Minister Shaukat Fayaz Ahmed Tarin with his family, Waqar Masood Khan, son of Imran Khan’s Former Adviser for finance and revenue. Arif Naqvi, a top PTI donor, who is currently facing fraud charges in the US has also been listed. Choudhary Moonis Elahi, a political ally of Khan planned to put the proceeds in a deal into secret trust hiding them from Pakistan’s tax department.

PM tweets he will probe all the names of citizens listed and welcomes the investigation. Compares hoarding to East India Company.

Purvi Modi, sister of Nirav Modi

Nirav Modi’s sister, Purvi Modi found to have set up a firm in the Virgin Islands “to act as a corporate protector of a trust formed through Trident Trust Company, Singapore”, reports Indian Express. The papers also reveal Purvi and her brother Neeshal Modi are beneficial owners of three BVI firms.

Konstantin Ernst, Putin’s image builder, staked upto billion dollars

The papers reveal the head of Russian TV network, Channel One, Konstantin Ernst held a secret 23% stake in a state-funded privatization deal that adds upto a billion dollars in the Virgin Islands. Ernst, 53, has been in the TV industry as long as Putin has been president and played a huge role in the image building for the Russian president. The company of Ernst was incorporated in the islands on the day of the 2014 Winter Olympics Opening ceremony.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw’s husband has Biocon shares upto $85 million.

In July this year, SEBI (Security and Exchange Board of India) barred Allegro Capital Pvt. Ltd. and its shareholder Kunal Ashok Kashyap from trading. But SEBI failed to see that Kashyap continued to be the protector of ‘Deanstone Trust’ set up in New Zealand.

More prominent Indians named by the Pandora Papers

As the Indian Express is revealing the names of Indian nationals in the Pandora list in a phased manner, more names have been coming out.

  • Jackie Shroff – Found to be linked to a New Zealand trust and a Swiss Bank account. In 2005, Shroff’s mother-in-law Claudia Dutt set up Media Trust, of which Jackie, along with Tiger and Krishna Shroff were prime beneficiaries.
  • Satish Sharma – Sharma along with at least 10 members of his family were beneficiaries of the ‘Jan Zegers Trust’, which he never revealed.
  • Nira Radia – Radia set up a dozen firms and conducted her offshore transactions through Sanjay Newatia, a London based banker. She was earlier named in the Panama Papers (2016) and the Paradise papers (2017)
  • Iqbal Mirchi Family – The family is reportedly linked to an Ex-Pak General. They transferred many offshore companies to the ‘Trident Trust’ of the British Virgin Islands.
  • Vinod Adani and Anil Ambani – Billionaires who were assumed to be away from the family riches are active in hoarding trusts off shores. Gautham Adani’s brother Vinod Shantilal Shah Adani set up a company in the British Virgin Islands, which he now claims is closed. Anil Ambani also hoards $1.3 billion dollar worth of offshore firms.
  • Owners of Radico Khaitan – Manufacturers of IMFL had assets in offshore trusts with Lalit and Abhishek Khaitan as beneficiaries.
  • Tushar Vashisht of HealthifyMe – Vasisht showed to be linked to a Singapore firm associated with Putin.
  • Niranjan Hiranandani – the founder of Hiranandani Group, a Mumbai-based real estate company, was the beneficiary of a trust with assets over $60 million.
  • Harish Salve – Salve bought the Marsul Company Limited and allotted 50,000 shares in 2015 to own a property n London.
  • Jyotsna Suri – Bharat Hotels’ largest shareholder Deeksha Holdings Limited held hotel projects in Dubai and London. Deeksha Holdings was held 73% by Suri.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II owned properties in the US and UK

The Pandora papers reveal the Jordanian King used his money from various offshore accounts to acquire properties between 2003 and 2017. He has reportedly purchased 14 homes worth more than $106 million, through 36 of his companies registered. His lawyers deny all involvement, with the royal court stating he had them for diplomatic visits.

More names are being revealed by the media

More prominent names of Indians are being revealed by the national daily Indian Express which is part of the group of journalists who carried out the investigation, the ICIJ. The names revealed have made the lawyers of the accused come out with statements denying any such charges. However, the Ministry of Finance in GOI has said they will probe into the matter as more names are being revealed, those which can’t be ignored anymore.

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