Treasure Magazine

Treasure Magazine

ICIJ’s Pandora Papers, 700 Pakistanis named in off-shore companies

4 min read

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has unveiled “Pandora Papers” which includes the names of more than 700 Pakistanis, it emerged on Sunday.

According to the report, leaked documents revealed that key politicians including federal cabinet members, opposition party leaders, “have secretly owned an array of companies”.

Most prominently these include Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi, Senator Faisal Vawda, Ishaq Dar’s son, PPP’s Sharjeel Memon, the  PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan, among others.

According to the investigation’s findings, Finance Minister Tarin and his family members own four offshore companies.

Former minister for water resources Faisal Vawda set up an offshore company in 2012 to invest in UK properties, the Pandora Papers show. The now-senator told the ICIJ that he had declared all foreign assets held in his name to tax authorities.

The exposé further revealed that the son of former finance adviser to the prime minister Waqar Masood Khan co-owned a company based in the British Virgin Islands. Khan told the ICIJ that he did not know what his son’s company did and that his son lived a “modest life”, and was not his dependent.

Moreover, the documents contain no suggestion that PM Imran Khan himself owns offshore companies.

The documents show that Chaudhry Moonis Elahi, contacted Asiaciti, a Singapore-based offshore services provider, in 2016 about setting up a trust to invest the profits from a family land deal that had been financed by what the lender later claimed was an illegal loan. The bank told Pakistani authorities that the loan had been approved due to the influence of Elahi’s father, a former deputy prime minister.

A family spokesman for the Elahi family told ICIJ’s media partners that, “due to political victimisation misleading interpretations and data have been circulated in files for nefarious reasons.” He maintained that the family’s assets “are declared as per applicable law”.

PM announces probe against Pakistanis named in Pandora Papers:

Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday welcomed the release of Pandora Papers leak saying that it exposed the ill-gotten wealth of elites, accumulated through tax evasion and corruption and laundered out to financial “havens”.

In a series of messages on Twitter, the prime minister said that his over two decades of struggle has been premised on the belief that countries are not poor but corruption causes poverty because money is diverted from being invested in our people.

Also, he said that this resource-theft causes devaluation, leading to thousands of poverty-related deaths.

“Just like the East India Company plundered the wealth of India, ruling elites of developing world are doing the same. Unfortunately, the rich states are neither interested in preventing this large-scale plunder nor in repatriating this looted money.”

Imran Khan further shared that the United Nation’s SG’s Panel FACTI calculated a staggering US$7 trillion in stolen assets parked in largely offshore tax-havens.

“My government will investigate all our citizens mentioned in the Pandora Papers and if any wrongdoing is established we will take appropriate action,” he said.

Jordanian, Czech leaders named in ‘Pandora Papers’

The secret documents also expose offshore 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.

The King of Jordan secretly spent more than £70m ($100m) on a property empire in the UK and US.

Leaked financial documents identify a network of secretly-owned firms used by Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein to buy 15 homes since he assumed power in 1999.

They included houses in Malibu, and in London and Ascot in the UK.

The files also detail the financial activities of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “unofficial minister of propaganda” and more than 130 billionaires from Russia, the United States, Turkey and other nations.

People linked by the secret documents to offshore assets include India’s cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar, pop music diva Shakira, supermodel Claudia Schiffer and an Italian mobster known as “Lell the Fat One.”

According to a document, Tendulkar’s attorney said the cricket player’s investment is legitimate and has been declared to tax authorities. Shakira’s attorney said the singer declared her companies, which the attorney said do not provide tax advantages. Schiffer’s representatives said the supermodel correctly pays her taxes in the U.K., where she lives.

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