A year after the Panama Papers took the world by storm, a new set of 13.4 million records from a corporate and law services provider firm Appleby has put the spotlight back on as many as 719 Indians and corporates who have evaded taxes and hedged funds.
Coming just two days ahead of the anniversary of demonetisation and ‘Anti-black money Day’, the Paradise Papers are a trove of corporate documents obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Appleby, like Mossack Fonseca (Panama Papers, 2016) provides assistance in setting up offshore companies and bank accounts to facilitate bank loans or transfer of shares, layered in multiple “secrecy jurisdictions” that help skirt taxes and shore up one’s wealth.
There are also details from 19 corporate registries maintained by governments in secrecy jurisdictions – Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Cook Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Labuan, Lebanon, Malta, the Marshall Islands, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vanuatu, reports The Guardian.
The India link
Among the 180 countries featuring in the data leak, India ranks 19th in terms of the number of names and second among Appleby’s clients, a report by the Indian Express said.
Here’s a look at some of the names of Indian companies and individuals that have cropped up in the leak, according to an Indian Express report:
1. Sun Group, founded by Nand Lal Khemka, figures as Appleby’s second-largest client internationally, with as many as 118 different overseas shell entities.
2. Firms in the Sun-TV-Aircel-Maxis case.
3. Firms in the Essar-Loop 2G case.
4. SNC-Lavalin case, in which Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was accused but later cleared.
5. Those involved in the Rajasthan ambulance scam that names a company called Ziquista Healthcare, whose early Honorary/Independent Directors included Sachin Pilot and Karti Chidambaram.
6. Fresh financial leads in a CBI case against YSR Congress Chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.
7. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha also features on the list due to his past association with the Omidyar Network.
8. BJP Rajya Sabha MP due to his association with offshore accounts.
9. Founder of Security and Intelligence Services (SIS) R K Sinha.
10. Niira Radia, the corporate lobbyist, of Radia tapes fame.
11. Sanjay Dutt’s wife Manyata who features under her former name Dilnashin.
12. Offshore accounts of Amitabh Bachhan in a Bermuda company acquired before implementation of the 2004 Liberalised Remittance Scheme.
13, Diageo, the company that acquired Mallya’s United Spirits Limited India.
14. GMR Group.
15. Jindal Steel, Apollo Tyres, Havells, Hindujas, Emaar MGF, Videocon, the Hiranandani Group and D S Construction, among others.
Globally, the papers claim to reveal the secret dealings of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief fund-raiser, Russian firm’s investments in Twitter and Facebook, relationship between Russia and US President Donald Trump’s commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, Queen Elizabeth’s investments, activities of former Pakistan PM Shaukat Aziz, among 120 other politicians.