Paradise Papers: Data leak on prominent politicians, 714 Indians names included

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A huge leak of money related document reports could uncover the hidden wealth of many rich Indians, including politicians, corporate heavyweights, and entertainment leaders, who are alleged to have utilized offshore tax shelters to shun taxes. One of the organizations reporting findings from the records, Indian Express, identified previous and current ministers, members of parliament, a steel conglomerate and a prominent Bollywood icon came as names from India that were in the reports.

Out of 180 countries, India ranks 19 in the data in terms of the number of names. The report said in its front-page report published in the Monday edition that “In all, there are 714 Indians in the tally”. The Indian Express reported in an explainer that figuring in the reports (13.4 million records) does not mean the people named in it are involved in any crime. “Normally, a company is entitled to arrange its financial affairs in whichever way it wishes to reduce its tax liability. Merely the fact that the motive for a particular transaction is to avoid tax does not invalidate the transaction unless the law of the land specifically says so. There is a corporate army engaged in imaginative bookkeeping to discover and exploit legal loopholes and evade tax under the corporate veil,” it said.

Appleby and Asiaciti are also among the “corporate army” that helps companies and individuals build up their businesses, make investments and carry out money related operations. Coming to the international names, the revelations in the Paradise Papers includes millions of pounds from Queen Elizabeth II’s private estate that has been invested in a Cayman Islands fund and some of her money that went to a retailer blamed for abusing poor families and vulnerable individuals. The Paradise Papers leak also includes the extensive details of offshore dealings by US President Donald Trump’s cabinet members, advisers, and donors, including significant payments from a firm co-owned by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law to the shipping group of the US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross. On the other hand, the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief wealth manager’s name is also included in the papers.

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