Recently, there has been a leak of data consisting of 13.4 million documents identifying hidden assets stashed away in the Caribbean. The papers reveal the details of undisclosed wealth of high net worth individuals from 180 countries. This leak by Appleby, a Bermuda based law firm, is dubbed as the Paradise Papers.
The Paradise Papers came to light when this financial data was leaked to the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung. This newspaper further made these documents available to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ.)
The Papers reveal the involvement of famous personalities such as Queen Elizabeth II, pop singer Madonna and popular vocalist from U2, Bono. The list also includes major American corporations such as Apple, Uber, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook and many more. Barclay’s, the multi national bank from the United Kingdom is also involved in hiding its assets to evade taxes.
The financial data disclosure also exposes 714 Indians, who stashed away their wealth abroad to evade legitimate taxes. Among these Indians named are, Minister of State Jayant Sinha, Congress Leader Sachin Pilot, BJP MP Ravindra Kishore, former minister P. Chidambaram’s son Karti and Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan. This list also includes major Indian corporations such as GMR Group, Havells, Hindujas, Jindal Steel and Power, Sun Group, Videocon and many others.
BJP Minister Jayant Sinha has denied the allegations and said, “All transactions were bonafide and legal transactions undertaken on behalf of highly reputed world leading organizations in my fiduciary role as partner at Omidyar Network and its designated representative on the D Light board.”
The Congress Party was not happy with Jayant’s response and have asked him to resign. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala questioned, “The PM’s so called fight against black money and corruption remains a complete flop. Jayant Sinha refuses to disclose various financial documents that he has signed for or on behalf of Omidyar Network. He is or has been a director of various other companies. Do these companies have any connection to any offshore entities like the Omidyar Network?”
Just like during the Panama Papers leak, Amitabh Bachchan gave the same response, “It takes a while to dig out old files and to compile all that they want… the fullest cooperation has been extended… we shall comply… It is the norm.”
Appleby, the law firm said it would not stand for illegal activities either by their employees or clients. They also assured they would extend full cooperation with the concerned authorities.