April 4th, 2016
A list over 500 Indians has allegedly surfaced in a massive leak of 11.5 million tax documents, which suggest that they have been involved in secret dealings of foundations and trusts set up for them by Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca. According to the documents, the Indians include actors Amitabh Bachchan,Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, DLF owner KP Singh, famed lawyer Harish Salve, Onkar Kanwar of the Apollo group, late Mumbai gangster Iqbal Mirchi, West Bengal politician Shishir Bajoria, Anurag Kejriwal of Loksatta Party and others.
The revelations The extensive investigation by a coalition of media including The Indian Express revealed that they violated tax rules or masked ownership of firms they allegedly set up abroad. According to the reports, Amitabh Bachchan was the director of four shipping companies in the Bahamas, Aishwarya Rai was a shareholder of a firm in the British Virgin islands, KP Singh and his family owned firms in the British Virgin islands.
RBI norm Panama is one of the many tax havens in the world, used to conceal illicit money. According to the Reserve Bank of India norms, Indians were not allowed to set up an oversea entity until 2003. In 2004, Indian residents were allowed to remit funds of up to $25,000 a year, which now stands at $250,000 a year. But the RBI permitted only to purchase shares, not to set up companies. Since 2013, individuals are allowed to set up subsidiaries or invest in joint ventures under the Overseas Direct Investment window.
Other significant personalities involved Not only Indians, Mossack Fonseca’s documents reveal big names from around the world, including Argentinian football star Lionel Messi, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif.
The Logical Indian will update on this news as and when we get more concrete information on this. Tax evasion and concealment among Celebrities, businessmen and other ultra rich are not new. However, to see these names as part of this list is certainly a let down for themselves and for all the people who loved them.