New Delhi: An International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has uncovered “unprecedented leaks in the offshore shelters and hidden wealth of world leaders and billionaire business tycoons” through documents titled “Pandora Papers”.
The open financial secrets of several prominent Indian business tycoons including Reliance ADA Group Chairman Anil Ambani, Biocon Executive Chairman Kiran Mazumdar Shaw’s husband John McCallum Marshall, corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and Cox & Kings’ Ajit Kerkar have been uncovered in a long list of open financial secrets. . by union.
“Pandora Papers” has revealed that Reliance ADA Group Chairman Anil Ambani and his representatives own 18 offshore companies in Cyprus, Jersey and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) with a total transaction value of USD 1300.5 million.
According to the report, seven of these companies, which were set up between 2007 and 2010, have borrowed and invested at least USD 1.3 billion. Anil Ambani had a dispute with three Chinese state banks in 2020 after he told a London court that his net worth was zero, the International Journalists’ Association said in the Pandora Papers.
Similarly, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw’s husband holds 99 per cent stake in Mauritius-based Glentech International, which holds shares in Biocon. Glentech established the Deanstone Trust in New Zealand. Notably, John McCallum Marshall Shaw is a British citizen, according to the Pandora Papers.
The consortium said the offshore holdings of 60 individuals and companies out of more than 300 Indians included in the papers were investigated, with more details to emerge in the coming days.
It noted that several Indians, including cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, rerouted their offshore assets following the 2016 Panama Papers investigation. “Obviously, Indian businessmen are setting up a plethora of offshore trusts to segregate some of their wealth and protect their assets from creditors,” it added.
Nearly 600 investigative journalists affiliated with the ICIJ published new papers on Sunday on the alleged involvement of several world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Jordan’s King Abdullah II and other high-profile individuals in tax haven schemes.
According to the ICIJ, the financial secrets of more than 330 politicians and public officials in 35 current and former world leaders, 91 countries and territories have been exposed.
ICIJ, a US-based non-profit group, is a global network of journalists and media organizations. Their network of members includes investigative journalists from over 100 countries and territories.
The Washington Post reported that the new paper exceeds the dimensions of the leaks that were at the center of the Panama Papers investigation five years ago.
Financial records reveal the vast reach of a secret offshore system used to hide billions of dollars from tax officials, creditors, criminal investigators and citizens around the world.
The revelations include more than US$100 million spent by Jordan’s King Abdullah II on luxury homes in Malibu, California and other locations. It also includes the revelation of cash secretly owned by the leaders of the Czech Republic, Kenya, Ecuador and other countries. ; And a waterfront home in Monaco was acquired by a Russian woman who reportedly received considerable wealth after having a child with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The files detail the financial activities of Russian President Putin’s “informal propaganda minister” and more than 130 billionaires from India, Russia, the United States, Mexico and other countries.
In an era of widespread authoritarianism and inequality, the ICIJ said: “The Pandora Papers’ investigation into how money and power work in the 21st century – and how the rule of law has been bent and broken around the world by a system provides a disparate view of the financial secrecy enabled by the US and other wealthy countries”.
The ICIJ said these new findings highlight how deeply covert finance has infiltrated global politics – and provide insight into how governments and global organizations have done little to end offshore financial abuses. made progress.
(with agency input)