The Panama Papers: All You Need to Know
November 30, 2017
The Panama Papers are one of the biggest leaks on the tax havens that were largely used by the rich politicians and celebrities around the world, especially in India.
As many as 11.5 million documents were leaked from Mossack Fonseca, which is the world’s 4th largest offshore law firm based in Panama.
These files, that amounted to about 2.3 terabytes in size and shared the offshore holding of individuals and corporates from more than 200 countries, were obtained by the Investigative Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) through an anonymous source.
The “Bulk” of it
Mossack Fonseca was found guilty of providing the convenience of anonymity through a maze of accounts and front entities to its influential and rich clients so that they could hide their money without a trace.
The law firm assisted its clients to move their money from one business or jurisdiction to another with time so that their identities and accounts could remain hidden and safe from the tax liabilities.
One of the major activities that Mossack Fonseca was found involved in was to change and backdate the documents to protect its clients. It was also found to be involved in establishing new foundations in Panama, usually under the pretext of non-profit organizations, for its clients for them to hide their assets.
It’s Relevance to India
Personalities from all corners of the world were found to be taking services from Mossack Fonseca, and more than 500 of these were Indians. Some noteworthy names include Amitabh Bacchan and Aishwarya Rai Bacchan, Anurag Kejriwal, and DLF promotor K P Singh.
According to the RBI regulations, no Indian citizen was allowed to invest in an overseas entity before 2003. So, those who are found to have engaged in the same are clearly in the violation of the same.
Since the documents contained the details from the year 1977 to December 2015, there have to be many Indian personalities who are guilty of being involved in hoarding black money. Hence, the disclosure bears a great significance for India in particular.