The secret deals and hidden assets of some of the world's richest and most powerful people are out in the open in the biggest trove of leaked offshore data in history. Branded the 'Pandora papers', the cache includes 11.9m files from companies hired by wealthy clients to create offshore structures and trusts in tax havens such as Panama, Dubai, Monaco, Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.
There are about 300 plus Indians names in the leaked data, including Anil Ambani, Sachin Tendulkar, Purvi Modi (sister of fugitive Nirav Modi), John McCallum Marshall Shaw, a British citizen and the husband of Kiran Mazumder Shaw.
The Pandora papers reveal the inner workings of what is a shadow financial world, providing a rare window into the hidden operations of a global offshore economy that enables some of the world's richest people to hide their wealth and in some cases pay little or no tax.
Names Of Billionaires On The List
More than 100 billionaires feature in the leaked data, as well as celebrities, rock stars and business leaders. Many use these shell companies to hold luxury items such as property and yachts, as well as incognito bank accounts. There is even art ranging from looted Cambodian antiquities to paintings by Picasso and murals by Banksy.
Globally, prominent persons whose number figure on leaked data include Pakistan Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Jordan's King Abdullah II, pop singer Shakira and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
While setting up or benefiting from offshore entities is not itself illegal, and in some cases people may have legitimate reasons, such as security, for doing so. However, the secrecy offered by tax havens has at times proven attractive to tax evaders, fraudsters and money launderers, some of whom are exposed in the files.
Anil Ambani, who declared bankruptcy in a UK court, has 18 offshore companies in Jersey, British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Cyprus. Set up between 2007 and 2010, seven of these companies have borrowed and invested at least $1.3 billion.
Purvi Modi, Nirav Modi' sister, had set up a trust just a month before he fled India. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw's husband set up a trust with keys to a person banned by Sebi for insider trading. Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar asked for liquidation of his entity in BVI just three months after Panama Papers, an earlier investigation.
Samoa, Belize or the Cook Islands are some of the preferred tax havens, apart from larger tax havens like the British Virgin Islands or Panama.