New Delhi, April 4: More than 11 million documents of Mossack Fonseca (MF), a Panama based law firm, have been leaked. The leaked document called ‘Panama Papers’ reveals a global network of offshore companies helping the wealthy hide their assets. The ‘Panama Papers’ leak shows how hundreds of thousands people hide their money using anonymous shell corporations across the world.
The list of prominent personalities, who were found to be attached with offshore companies across the world in the leaked Panama Papers, includes names like Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, DLF owner K P Singh and Gautam Adani’s elder brother Vinod Adani.
According to the investigation conducted by a chain of media outlets including Indian publication The Indian Express, over 500 Indians figure on the Panama Papers’s list of offshore companies. The leaked documents revealed that Aishwarya Rai and her family members were part of a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven, for at least three years. The company shortened Aishwarya Rai’s name to A Rai for reasons of confidentiality. The company also changed Aishwarya’s statues in the firm; from director to shareholder.
According to the leaked documents, two years before Amitabh Bachchan launched Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited (ABCL) in 1995, the Bollywood legend was appointed director in at least four offshore shipping companies. Those companies were registered in tax havens — one in the British Virgin Islands and three in the Bahamas in November 1993.
Promoter of India’s largest real estate group DLF, Kushal Pal Singh, acquired a company in British Virgin Islands, a tax haven, in which his wife Indira KP Singh is a co-shareholder.
Till 2003, no Indian was allowed to set up an overseas entity. But in 2004, RBI liberalised the norms and allowed Indian to buy shares in overseas companies but never allowed them to set up companies abroad. The leaked papers have revealed that most of the offshore companies set up by the Indians were much before 2004.
The Panama Papers is a global investigation into the sprawling, secretive industry of offshore that the world’s rich and powerful use to hide assets and skirt rules by setting up front companies in far-flung jurisdictions.