Indian money in offshore entities: The Pandora Papers

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Additional information may please be sent as messages to the Facebook
community, All information used will be gratefully
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Oct 4, 2021: The Times of India

NEW DELHI: The names of several Indian businessmen, celebrities and politicians have been revealed in an unprecedented leak of financial documents known as the "Pandora Papers".

As many as 380 Indians are on the list of the global elite who have been exposed for ringfencing their wealth through shadowy financial transactions and using offshore tax havens to hide assets worth millions of dollars.

The "treasure trove" of nearly 11.9 million confidential files has been obtained by a global network of reporters and publication houses called the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). As many as 600 journalists from 150 news organisations sifted through the documents for two years to come up with the findings.

Prominent Indians in Pandora Papers

The ICIJ and its partner in India, The Indian Express, mentioned the names of famous Indians such as cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar, businessman Anil Ambani, diamantaire Nirav Modi's sister and Biocon promoter Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw's husband.

The documents show that Tendulkar, along with family members, owned an offshore entity in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) that was liquidated in 2016 shortly after the leak of a similar set of financial documents called the Panama Papers.

However, Tendulkar's representative said the transactions were completely legitimate and also declared to the income tax authorities, according to the report.

Businessman Anil Ambani, who recently filed for bankruptcy in a UK court, is also mentioned in the documents concerning off-shore entities.

The younger Ambani's lawyer, however, also told the newspaper that his client had followed all required procedures and made declarations before the concerned authorities.

Furthermore, the Indian Express revealed that a month before fugitive diamond jeweller Nirav Modi fled India in January 2018, his sister Purvi Modi set up a firm in the British Virgin Islands to act as a corporate protector of a trust formed through the Trident Trust Company, Singapore.

Purvi Modi's lawyer, however, denied all allegations of wrongdoing, the newspaper reported.

The report also named the husband of Biocon promoter Kiran Mazumder Shaw, who had set up a trust with keys to a person who was banned by Sebi for insider trading.

The Biocon promoter, however, refuted the documents and said that her husband's offshore trust is "bonafide" and "legitimate".

Pakistanis in the pack

As many as 700 Pakistanis, including members of Prime Minister Imran Khan's inner circle, have been named in the leaked documents.

According to the ICIJ, members of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s inner circle, including current and former cabinet ministers, secretly owned an array of companies and trusts holding millions of dollars of hidden wealth.

Documents accessed by Pakistani investigative journalists show that Khan’s water resources minister, Chaudhry Moonis Elahi, contacted a Singapore-based offshore services provider Asiaciti in 2016 about setting up a trust to invest the profits from a family land deal that had been financed by what the lender later claimed was an illegal loan.

The bank told Pakistani authorities that the loan had been approved due to the influence of Elahi’s father, a former deputy prime minister.

Asiaciti records say that Elahi backed off from putting money into a trust in Singapore after the provider told him it would report the details to Pakistani tax authorities.

Elahi did not respond to ICIJ’s requests for comment. According to the investigation's findings, Pakistan finance minister Tarin and his family members own four offshore companies.

It quoted Tariq Fawad Malik, a financial consultant who handled the paperwork for the companies, as saying that they were set up as part of the Tarin family’s intended investment in a bank with a Saudi business.

Pakistani generals

The leaked documents also provide a rare glimpse into the secret financial dealings of the Pakistani generals.

According to, the investigation revealed that "a luxury London apartment was transferred from the son of a famous Indian movie director to the wife of a three-star general".

The general told ICIJ the property purchase was disclosed and proper.

According to details, the wife of retired Lt Gen Shafaat Ullah Shah, a former aide to then-president Pervez Musharraf, acquired a $1.2 million apartment in London "through a discreet offshore transaction" in 2007.

The investigation found that the property was transferred to Lt Gen Shah's wife by an offshore company owned by Akbar Asif, the son of famous Indian film director K Asif.

Interestingly, Akbar’s sister, Heena Kausar, is the widow of Iqbal Mirchi, a key figure in the Dawood Ibrahim-led crime syndicate "D-company".

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