Pandora Papers unveil Indians who stashed millions abroadtext_fields
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has released an explosive missive detailing a thorough account of offshore dealings of the world's most prominent celebrities and politicians including the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, singer Shakira, and dozens of heads of state and government.
The so-called "Pandora Papers" investigation — involving some 600 journalists from media, including The Washington Post, the BBC and The Guardian — is based on the leak of some 11.9 million documents from 14 financial services companies around the world. It follows other ICIJ leaks like the Panama Papers scandal.
Tendulkar's lawyer has so far denied any illegality and noted that all his assets were on paper and known to the government of India. On a world map highlighting the number of politicians linked with offshore dealings, India is shown as having six.
Records in the Pandora Papers were investigated by The Indian Express, to reveal the 18 offshore companies owned by Anil Ambani, chairman of Reliance ADA Group and his representatives. A London court had earlier observed that no offshore assets had been declared by Ambani in his dispute with three Chinese state-owned banks. Ambani had declared his net worth was "zero" during the dispute.
"The findings by ICIJ and its media partners spotlight how deeply secretive finance has infiltrated global politics – and offer insights into why governments and global organisations have made little headway in ending offshore financial abuses," it notes.
The investigation, which took terabytes of data and cooperation between journalists from different countries amassed data from institutions like financial services companies in countries including the British Virgin Islands, Panama, Belize, Cyprus, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Switzerland. Analysis of the secret documents identified 956 companies in offshore havens tied to 336 high-level politicians and public officials, including country leaders, cabinet ministers, ambassadors and others.
According to the ICIJ, its secret documents expose offshore dealings of the likes 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 files also reveal the financial activities of Russian President Vladimir Putin's "unofficial minister of propaganda" and more than 130 billionaires from Russia, the U.S., Turkey and other nations.
The scandal has also hit Pakistani politics with "offshore holdings of people close to (Prime Minister Imran) Khan [being] disclosed, including [those of] his Finance Minister and a top financial backer," the findings claim. A spokesperson for Imran Khan told a press conference that linkages to offshore accounts would be investigated.