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All you need to know about history’s biggest data leak by Panama Papers

Panama Papars

WRITTEN BY

Sadaf Sher
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Leaked, spread, reproached…yes its none other than the Panama leaks controversy. In Past few days, Panama leaks took world by storm, leaving the offshore company holders and general public equally awestruck. This came as the biggest leak leaving behind the Wikileaks and ‘so and so’ mighty leaks of all times. The revelation was a harsh one but nevertheless a true one.

Panama papers were leaked by an anonymous source, comprising of 11.5 million documents. This is the confidential data owned by an offshore Law firm Mossack Fonseca, which is regarded as the fourth largest law firm working to date. The shocking documents revealed the hidden offshore assets of rich, powerful, and well-known people including celebrities and leaders.

Not many of us are aware of these offshore companies and the reason behind such holdings. Well, the main purpose of offshore havens is basically to evade tax confrontations. It is revealed that about 12 working national leaders are involved amongst 143 other politicians from around the world. Among many others the name of Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, also surfaced creating a stir country-wide.

Do you know: Pakistan’s taxation system was promulgated on 13 September, 2001, while it became effective from 1st July, 2002. (Source: Wikipedia)

Following is the list of a few leaders owning offshore havens:

  • Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko
  • Argentina’s President, Mauricio Macri
  • Three children of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
  • The late father of the UK Prime Minister David Cameron
  • Iceland’s Prime Minister, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson
  • Brother-in-law of China’s President Xi Jinping
  • Member of Fifa’s ethics committee,Uruguayan lawyer Juan Pedro Damiani
  • Ayad Allawi, ex-interim Prime Minister and former Vice-President of Iraq
  • Alaa Mubarak, son of Egypt’s former President

The leaks resulted in thrash of jarring reactions from people all across the world. In the similar fashion, protest held in response to the leaks resulted in Iceland’s Prime Minister, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson’s resignation from his post. While the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, upon building pressure on him revealed the details of tax paid by him since 2009.

As for Pakistan, the names range from politicians to businessmen further to judges and bankers. Apart from current Prime Minister, Senator Rehman Malik, Osman Saifullah’s family, Benazir Bhutto, Zain Sukhera (who was also accused with former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani’s son in the Hajj scandal) are said to be involved in these illegal holdings.

Daughter of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, is reported to be the “owner of British virgin Islands-based firms Nielsen Enterprises limited and Nescoll limited, incorporated in 1994 and 1993”

Hassan Nawaz, son of Nawaz Sharif, is said to be “the sole director of Hangon Property Holdings Limited incorporated in the British virgin Islands in February 2007, which acquired Liberia based firm Cascon Holdings Establishment Limited for about 11.2 million in August 2007”

Business tycoons like those of Malik Riaz Hussain’s son, Taxtile Sapphire’s owner, Zulfiqar Ali Lakhani (Managing Director and Chief Executive of multiple companies), Shahid Nazir of Masood Textiles etc are also involved.

List also includes the names of 29 billionaires from around the world, stars from film world like Jackie Chan, Ashwarya Rai, and Amitabh Buchan also tops the list.

What is Mossack Fonseca?

Mossack Fonseca is a law firm, which incorporates companies in offshore dominions. It has worldwide network of offices currently working in 42 countries with 600 workers.

It is also revealed that the firm acted as a registered agent for more than 200,000 companies, while British Virgin alone holds more than 100,000 companies.

However, offshore companies should not be considered as an illegal act. Its completely legal. Its just that so and so company should not be kept hidden with regard to taxes.

According to the guardian, it is legitimate due to certain reasons as:

Business people in countries such as Russia and Ukraine typically put their assets offshore to defend them from ‘raids’ by criminals, and to get around hard currency restrictions. Others use offshore for reasons of inheritance and estate planning.

The firm, Mossack Fonseca, however claims that during its 40 years none of the criminal offence has been made neither has it ever been involved in any illegal wrong-doings.

Now the question concerning Pakistanis is that, will the Prime Minister respond or not to the said allegations? Is it the time when Imran Khan will succeed in having the Prime Minister step down from his seat or will he sustain till coming elections? Will the Premier realize the importance of sentiments of general public? Lets wait and watch what future holds in store for Pakistanis; for future is always full of surprises.

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