Pandora Papers: In one of the biggest leaks of financial documents made public on Sunday, the secret wealth and illegal investments of hundreds of politicians, businessmen and billionaires across the world, including Indians, have been exposed.
Called the “Pandora Papers”, the latest set of leaked documents have brought to light the financial secrecy of the world’s richest people and are said to be the most voluminous ever.
The trove includes nearly 12 million files from different companies hired by their wealthy clients to create offshore structures and trusts in tax havens such as Panama, Dubai, Monaco, Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, according to a report by the Guardian.
According to the papers, obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), more than 100 billionaires and celebrities from countries like Russia, US, India, Pakistan, UK and Mexico used shell firms and incognito bank accounts to purchase secret assets and conduct secret financial dealings.
The Pandora Papers have exposed dealings of the King of Jordan, the Presidents of Ukraine, Kenya and Ecuador, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
According to the report, the leaked documents have exposed more than 300 Indians including those who are accused of economic offences, former members of Parliament and those under the radar of investigation agencies.
As per a report of Indian Express, which was part of the consortium, Indian businessman Anil Ambani has 18 asset holding offshore companies despite the fact that he was declared bankrupt in a UK court.
The report said the husband of Biocon promoter Kiran Mazumder Shaw set up a trust with keys to a person who was banned by regulator SEBI for insider trading.
The sister of Indian fugitive Nirav Modi also set up a trust just a month before the diamantaire fled the country, according to the report.
It has been reported that several individuals who owned offshore entities opted for a reorganisation of their foreign assets after the massive Panama papers leak in 2016.
The Indian Express report also mentioned that cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar was among the individuals who asked for the liquidation of his offshore entity after the Panama leak.
The Guardian reported that the Padora papers reveal that King of Jordan, Abdullah II, secretly amassed 100 million dollars worth of property in the US and UK, including plush ocean view mansions in Malibu.
The Dawn reported that several members of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s inner circle, including his cabinet colleagues and their families, secretly own companies and trusts holding millions of dollars.
The Pandora papers also revealed that former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife saved 312,000 sterling in stamp duty when they bought a London office.
The biggest leak also links Russian President Vladimir Putin to secret assets in Monaco.