New Delhi: A global investigation has revealed how some of the world’s richest and most powerful people, including several prominent Indians, allegedly used offshore companies to conceal their wealth from tax authorities.
The investigation, termed as the ‘Pandora Papers’, is based on nearly 12 million documents obtained by the International Consortium and Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). It was published by The Indian Express in India.
According to the ICIJ website, an investigation into the “offshore havens” and “hidden riches” of world leaders and billionaires”, is based on confidential records of 14 offshore service providers located in British Virgin Islands, Panama, Belize, Cyprus, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Switzerland, which helped these wealthy individuals to “incorporate shell companies, trusts, foundations and other entities in low- or no-tax jurisdictions”.
The leaked documents revealed offshore dealings of Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, fugitive diamond businessman Nirav Modi’s sister Purvi Modi, the husband of Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, among others.
According to the report in The Indian Express, many individuals and businesses, already under the scanner, are “pushing the envelope to evade detection, using loopholes in the law at home and the lax jurisdiction of tax havens”.
Of the 300-plus Indians figured in the list, the report highlighted how “bankrupt” Anil Ambani and his representatives own 18 asset holding offshore companies worth $1.3 billion in Jersey, British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Cyprus.