Millions hidden offshore by rich, powerful: Probe

The so-called Pandora Papers investigation - involving some 600 journalists from dozens of media including The Washington Post and The Guardian - is based on the leak of some 11.9 million documents from 14 financial services companies around the world.
Representational image.(Reuters)
Representational image.(Reuters)
Published on Oct 04, 2021 04:57 AM IST
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Agencies | , Washington

More than a dozen heads of state and governments, including the King of Jordan and the Czech prime minister, as well as other high-profile individuals, have amassed millions in secret offshore assets, according to an investigation published on Sunday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The so-called Pandora Papers investigation - involving some 600 journalists from dozens of media including The Washington Post and The Guardian - is based on the leak of some 11.9 million documents from 14 financial services companies around the world.

Key members of Pak PM’s inner circle named

Over 700 Pakistanis, including some ministers and key members of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s inner circle, were listed among the individuals whose names were linked with the Pandora Papers.

Finance minister Shaukat Tarin, minister for water resources Moonis Elahi, Senator Faisal Vawda, the family of minister for industries and production Khusro Bakhtiar, among others, had links with offshore companies, Geo News reported.

Some retired army officials, businessmen - including Axact’s CEO Shoaib Sheikh - and media company owners, have also been named in the leaks.

According to the report, leaked documents revealed that “key members” of Prime Minister Khan’s inner circle, including cabinet ministers, their families and major financial backers “have secretly owned an array of companies and trusts holding millions of dollars of hidden wealth”.

Hours before the leak, in a government letter released by local media, Panama’s government said it fears that the publication of a new expose about financial secrecy in global tax havens could again taint its reputation, which was seriously damaged by the “Panama Papers” scandal.

“The damage could be insurmountable,” the Panamanian government said in the letter, sent through a law firm to ICIJ.

The letter warns that “any publication” reinforcing “a false perception” of the country as a possible tax haven “will have devastating consequences for Panama and its people”.

The letter also references some of the reforms that the Central American country has made in recent years, although it remains on the EU list of tax havens. The government fears that Panama will again be the epicentre of a new global tax havens scandal like the one that followed the ICIJ’s disclosure of the Panama Papers in 2016.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021