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Whom to blame for Panama expose?

In the recent controversy, numerous Indians who figure in the list of those who have used tax havens to park their money have claimed that their investments were legal, while many have maintained silence. While superstar Amitabh Bachchan responded to the revelations, the media adviser to his daughter-in-law, Aishwarya Rai, was quoted by media reports as saying that the documents were “untrue and false.” Sir Bachchan, said he has paid all his taxes including on currencies spent by him overseas. The Indian Express had reported that actors Amitabh Bachchan was also named in the Panama Papers as to having offshore directors of four shipping companies.

Panama Papers leakage including Heads of state, politicians, celebs and lawbreakers named in a massive cache of leaked files exposing almost 40 years of intricate methods to make use of offshore assets. Offshore bank accounts are located outside a client’s country of resident, usually in “tax haven” territories chosen because of financial and legal advantages.

They can be used to hoard money away from the oversight of national banking systems, evading regulatory oversight or tax obligations. Companies or individuals often use shell companies – set up purely as a vehicle for financial transactions and initially amalgamated without significant assets or operations – to disguise ownership or other information about the funds involved.

Panama, the Channel Islands and Bermuda are among more than a dozen small, low-tax locations that specialize in handling business services and investments of non-resident companies. The Companies or trusts can be set up in offshore locations for legitimate uses such as business finance, unions and procurements and estate or tax planning, according to the global money laundering watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force. However, being used to avoid tax, the secrecy they lend also makes them attractive to criminals and terrorist groups wishing to conceal the sources of their funds. Lawyers and bankers may be unaware that they are handling illicit transactions through the accounts, prompting efforts by regulatory bodies and the EU has stepped up efforts to crack down on tax avoidance.

The ICIJ says the files from Mossack Fonseca include information on 214,488 offshore entities linked to 14,153 clients in 200 countries and territories. They include at least 33 people and companies blacklisted by the US government because of evidence that they’d been involved in wrongdoing, such as doing business with Mexican drug lords or rogue nations like North Korea. The ICIJ said it will publish the full list of involved companies and individuals linked to them in early May, citing emails, financial spreadsheets and passports among its evidence. However, it has already named several people including some big celebs and politicians.

The leak has encouraged investigations by police and tax authorities around the world, as well as scrutiny of global banks including HSBC, UBS, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and others known to have worked with Mossack Fonseca. All banks said they would co-operate with any investigation. Ramon Fonseca, a co-founder of Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca – one of the world’s largest creators of shell companies – confirmed that the papers were authentic and had been obtained illegally by hackers.

The leak has been dubbed the ‘Panama Papers” by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a non-profit group based in the US that originally published them. The group said an anonymous source provided internal documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, one of the world’s biggest creators of shell companies. It listed 12 current and former world leaders, 128 politicians and public officials, billionaires, celebrities, sports stars and politicians among those named in the cache of 11.5 million records.

The data stretches over 40 years, from 1977 through the end of 2015, including 214,000 offshore entities. Several personalities, politicians and VIPs in some countries are resorting to a new spin. They are raising a hue and cry about international hackers stealing their identities and creating the fraudulent corporate structures that they don’t know about or have nothing to do! If we accept that on face value, why is it that ordinary regular tax paying salaried employee’s personal records are not found among the 11 million Panama files? Ordinary citizens’ data could also be hacked online and used to create tax haven records for ulterior purposes. But that is not the case? So, why is it only riches details found in this cache of documents? It blows their shallow theory out of the water.

Huge money in terms of tax is misused in foreign countries by our award winning industrialists, artists and ‘social workers’ causing great damage to national exchequer, but we always hit some academicians as ‘leftist’ or ‘communist’ who never support such activities along with others and even label them ‘anti-national’. As long as, there is no real socialism the crony capitalist will keep on bending and twisting the laws and rules in their favour because they keep the powers by flatter. Let’s see, how ruling BJP takes up this issue.

 

 (Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on feedback@afternoonvoice.com)

Dr. Vaidehi Tamanhttp://www.vaidehisachin.com
Dr. Vaidehi is an Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and an Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. Since 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond the news (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which she caters for her sister-concern Kaizen-India Infosec Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

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