Paradise Papers leak: Politicians, businessmen among 714 Indians

Paradise Papers leak
Paradise Papers leak

After the leak of 13.4 million files on Sunday that expose the global environments in which tax abuses can thrive, 714 Indians figure were found in the list. It reveals how the powerful and ultra-wealthy secretly invest vast amounts of cash in offshore tax havens, media reports said on Monday.

The material, which has come from two offshore service providers and the company registries of 19 tax havens, was obtained by a German newspaper and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) with 100 other media organisations.

For the publication of this investigation, more than 380 journalists have spent a year combing through data that stretches back 70 years.

As per reports, among the 180 countries represented in the data, India ranks 19th in terms of the number of names. In all, there are 714 Indians in the tally. Indian company Sun Group figures as Appleby’s second-largest client internationally, with 118 different offshore entities.

The report also says these include firms in the Sun-TV-Aircel-Maxis case; Essar-Loop 2G case; SNC-Lavalin in which Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was named, 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 firm respectively); and fresh financial links in a CBI case against YSR Congress Chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.

The data reveals 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 report says that at a time when the CBI is trying to extradite liquor baron Vijay Mallya, Appleby’s documents show how millions of dollars worth of loans taken by offshore companies of United Spirits Limited India were waived by Diageo, the company which finally acquired USL.

The newspaper clarifies that figuring in the documents does not necessarily mean they are involved in crime.