Paradise Papers: ICIJ investigation reveals offshore interests of corporates, politicians, celebrities; 714 Indians in list

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released 'The Paradise Papers' which reveal offshore interests and activities of more than 120 politicians and world leaders.

Published: 06th November 2017 01:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th November 2017 07:34 PM   |  A+A-

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India ranks 19 in number of names out of 180 countries represented in the Paradise Papers' data. There are 714 Indians in the list. (Photo | Reuters)

By Online Desk

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists late on Sunday released 'The Paradise Papers' which reveal offshore interests and activities of more than 120 politicians and world leaders.

13.4 million leaked files from two firms Bermuda’s Appleby and Singapore’s Asiaciti and the company registries in almost 19 tax havens were obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, and probed by ICIJ along with 96 news agencies across the world.

According to a report by The Indian Express, which was also one of the agencies to probe the 13.4 million files, India ranks 19 in number of names out of 180 countries represented in the Paradise Papers' data. There are 714 Indians in the list. 

"In all, there are 714 Indians in the tally," said the Indian Express exclusive 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 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 said.

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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.  

"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.

The leaked files from Appleby, the offshore law firm, also include details of tax planning by nearly 100 multinational corporations, including Apple, Nike and Uber.

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According to the data, Queen Elizabeth II's private estate indirectly invested in a rent-to-own loan company accused of predatory tactics. At least 13 allies, major donors and Cabinet members of U.S. President Donald J. Trump appear, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s interests in a shipping company that makes millions from an energy firm whose owners include Russian President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law and a sanctioned Russian tycoon.

The ICIJ had in 2016 released the Panama Papers which was an investigation of 11.5 million files leaked from the database of the world’s fourth-biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca.

The names cropped up in the leak included Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, actress Aishwarya Rai, former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Gautam Adani's brother Vinod Adani etc.

(With IANS inputs)

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