Exposed – nothing fair on the road to riches

Panama Papers









Surprise, surprise that everyone among the few who could be traced or cared to respond denied that they owned their millions or billions in tax havens! They even suggested that their identities could be stolen. ”˜Tathatsu’ ”“ so be it – would be an appropriate response by Indian saint Durvasa or if there was international consensus.

A huge cache of leaked documents, many times bigger than the Wikileaks, from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca is a major win for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that includes Indian Express, Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Fairfax Media among many others.

The prominent among some 500 Indian names in the list include, Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Vinod Adani, DLF owner K P Singh and nine members of his family, politicians Shishir Bajoria from West Bengal and Anurag Kejriwal from Delhi’s Loksatta Party. The leak comes at just the right time as a Special Investigating Team (SIT) headed by a former Supreme Court Judge M B Shah is finalising its report.

Prior to 2003, Indians could not hold overseas funds. This changed to an allowable annual remittance of up to $25,000 in 2004. Currently, this limit stands at $250,000 per year.

The accessed Mossack Fonseka documents by Munich-based newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung provided 36,957 India-related files to Indian Express team which revealed addresses and passports of individuals as well as complex linkages of sources of their wealth and their intent in setting up offshore companies.

The Four-Corners programme aired in Australia on April 4 revealed the complex web of companies that Mossack Fonseka sets up not only for tax minimisation but also to hide corrupt money transactions involving illegal arms trade and drug trafficking. The programme revealed billionaire brothers Raymond and Thomas Kwok from Hong Kong as original directors of Wilson Security, that handles sensitive security business in Australia, having set up a shell company in the British Virgin Islands.


Short URL: