Two days ahead of the government's ant-black money day, Indian Express, in a tie-up with about 94 other international media organisations, has released a list of key politicians and corporate honchos who have used tax havens to make investments. However, it has to be kept in mind that merely figuring in this list does not mean there was any wrong-doing.
The list has about 714 Indians, including names of several BJP and Congress leaders. Paradise Papers are a huge set of documents - 13.4 million to be exact - that German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung gained access to. These were investigated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) of which Indian Express is a part (Read about it here).
As per the reports published in the newspaper today, the probe revealed "how two firms, Bermuda’s Appleby and Singapore’s Asiaciti Trust help the global rich and powerful move their money abroad".
The prominent Indians named include minister of state for aviation Jayant Sinha, fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya, cine star Amitabh Bachchan, Congress's Sachin Pilot, Karti Chidambaram and Ravi Krishna (son of former union minister Vayalar Ravi).
According to the report in Indian Express, Sinha was the managing director of Omidyar Network when the company invested in a US company D-Light Design, which has a subsidiary in Cayman Islands in the Caribbean Sea. That was before he became a Lok Sabha MP. The IE report says he has not mentioned that he was a director of D-Light Design in his declarations to the Election Commission.
The investigation has raised many questions about fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya. The probes showed "that after he sold his United Spirits Limited India (USL) to the Diageo group in 2013, Diageo approached a London-based law firm Linklaters LLP to undertake a massive restructuring exercise to simplify the complex group structure created by Mallya".
Another prominent name in the list is that of actor Amitabh Bachchan. According to the newspaper, he was shareholder in a Bermuda company that's now shut. The company Jalva Media Ltd was set up in Bermuda in July 2000. Jalva-India tied up with IBM for content services, the newspaper said. The report further says that it is not clear whether the investment made was disclosed to RBI as was the legal requirement then.
As the reactions from those named in the reports trickle in, most of them have denied any wrongdoing.
"These were bonafide and legal transactions undertaken on behalf of highly reputed world-leading organisations in my fiduciary role as Partner at Omidyar Network and its designated representative on the D.Light Board," minister Sinha has been quoted as saying in the media reports.
The other prominent persons named include BJP MP Ravindra Kishore Sinha, former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and Harsha Moily (former Union minister Veerappa Molly's son).
You can read all the reports by Indian Express here.
Follow Live updates here
Updated Date: Nov 06, 2017 12:26 PM