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Panama leaks: Amitabh, Aishwarya among 500 Indians named

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Published on 4 April 2016 8:13 AM GMT

Panama leaks: Amitabh, Aishwarya among 500 Indians named
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Panama City: Legendary Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai, who is now his daughter-in-law, are among the five hundred Indians whose names have appeared in the documents of a Panamanian law firm for tax evasion.

Suddeutsche Zeitung, a German newspaper magazine has investigated and released the list of 11.5 million documents from the secret files of Mossack Fonesca, a Panamanian law firm.

Indian Names in the Panama Papers:

Over five hundred Indians figure on the firm's list of foreign companies, foundations and trusts.

There are about 234 Indian passports handed over to the firm by clients as a part of incorporation process and the addresses provided to the firm, led to the physical locations, but with no trace of the individual.

Besides celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwariya Rai Bachchan, the other Indian names in Panama papers were those of DLF owner K P Singh and his family members and Vinod Adani, elder brother of Adani group chairman, Gautam Adani.

The papers also contain the names of politicians like Anurag Kejriwal, the former Chief of the Delhi unit of Loksatta Party.

The Panama papers not only revealed individuals' names but also details of deals like cricket franchise, in which sometimes, the Government too was involved.

The details also revealed names of those who have previously been under the CBI and Income Tax scrutiny.

What is Panama leak?

For the past years, hundreds of journalists from around the world secretly analysed the data given to them by some anonymous source who said he wanted to unveil the crime being done by the Panama based law firm.

The documents revealed how the world's richest and most powerful dignitaries, from Vladimir Putin to a former Prime Minister of Iceland concealed their business dealings using offshore foreign companies.

These findings were collectively published on April 3, as Panama Leaks.

Panama Leaks is the second biggest leaks after the Swiss leaks that revealed a list over 1,100 Indians having secret bank accounts in HSBC Geneva.

Details about the Issue:

As per Reserve Bank of India norms, no Indian citizen was allowed to float an overseas entity before 2003.

In 2004, for the first time Indian individuals got allowance to transmit funds up to $25,000 a year under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme.

This limit stands at $250,000 now.

In August 2013, the individuals were allowed to set up subsidiaries or invest in joint ventures overseas under the Overseas Direct Investment Window.

The companies revealed under Panama papers were set up long before the rules were changed.

Other names in Panama Papers:

According to The Guardian, who took part in the investigation process of Panama Papers, apart from Indian names there were names of other world famous personalities, such as Vladimir Putin, who controls about $2 billion worth of offshore assets, a former Prime Minister of Iceland and the family of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Is this leak a crime:

Panama Papers were leaked from the database of Mossack Fonseca which is the world's fourth largest offshore law firm.

Ramon Fonseca, one of the founders of the Panamanian firm, said that the data publishing is a crime and an attack on Panama.

"This is a crime. Privacy is a fundamental human right that is being eroded more and more in the modern world. Each person has a right to privacy, whether they are a king or beggar," he said and added that Mossack Fonseca has never been convicted for any wrongdoing in the past.

(Courtesy: Suddeutsche Zeitung)

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