The minute you turn on your TV, you know there is something going on and they are all talking about some “Panama Papers”. Some high profile names such as Messi, Putin, and Cameron are being linked.
You wonder what’s this all about and whether it has to do something with our Pakistani politicians and businessmen.
What are the Panama Papers?
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The Panama Papers are a massive collection of documents that include details about offshore companies. These documents were leaked and therefore names of people from around the world were revealed who owned these companies in multi-layered secrecy.
Unfortunately, the names include politicians, businessmen, retired judges and other civil servants who have used tax money to secretly open these offshore companies for their own financial growth.
The Panama Papers as documents which were leaked from Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm which, according to its website, offers “comprehensive legal and trust services.” The website goes on to say that the firm offers “research, advice and services for the following jurisdictions: Belize, The Netherlands, Costa Rica, United Kingdom, Malta, Hong Kong, Cyprus, British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Panama, British Anguilla, Seychelles, Samoa, Nevada, and Wyoming (USA).” Some of those jurisdictions have been labeled tax havens – including Panama.
The number of documents involved in the leak is staggering: 11.5 million confidential documents, constituting financial and legal records. It is thought to be one of the largest such leaks ever: even bigger than the Edward Snowden Wikileaks documents. The documents take up 2.6 terabytes in computer storage. For context, 1 terabyte of data could be stored on about 1400 CD-ROMs or 220 DVDs.
Are there any Pakistanis revealed in the Panama Papers?
Many of them. You expect a few Pakistani politicians to be in all those secret leaks and they have never disappointed. We had a lot of names mentioned in Wikileaks and now we have many from Sharif family in the Panama Papers.
The papers clearly reveal Nawaz Sharif family’s involvement in these offshore companies. There were also many judges and businessmen named in these papers.
So far, over 200 Pakistanis have been identified in these documents. There could be more to come since media analytics are yet to explore these papers fully to find out Pakistanis exclusively.
Politicians named in The Panama Papers
Nawaz Sharif family (Prime Minister)
Shahbaz Sharif family (Chief Minister Punjab)
Benazir Bhutto (Deceased – former Prime Minister)
Rehman Malik ( Senator)
Osman Saifullah (Senator)
Businessmen named in The Panama Papers
Malik Riaz (real estate tycoon)
Sadruddin Hashwani (hotel tycoon)
Abdullah family (Sapphire Textile)
Hussain Dawood family
Gul Muhammad Tabba (Lucky Textiles)
Shahid Nazir (Masood Textiles)
Zulfiqar Ali Lakhani (Lakhani Group)
Shehbaz Yasin Malik (Hilton Pharma)
Azam Sultan (Chairman ABM Group)
Aqeel Hussain (owner Pizza Hut Pakistan)
Judges and members of bar named in the Panama Papers
Malik Qayyum (retd. judge)
Farrukh Irfan (serving justice of High Court Lahore)
International names in the Panama Papers
There are hundreds of people named in the Panama Papers. The Forbes Magazine maintains a list of world’s 500 richest people. Out of these fortunate 500 billionaires, 29 have been named in the infamous Panama Papers.
Bollywood celebrities such as Amitabh Bachan and family were also named in the list.
Hollywood actors such as Jackie Chan’s name was also revealed as owner of an offshore company.
Nawaz Sharif family in the Panama Papers
Nawaz Sharif family is expected to make it to every such leak. After all, the family is already conspicuous due to it’s financial and political profile. The family has four different companies in different names according to these papers. All these companies are offshore and created to evade tax. The owners of these four companies are;
- Maryam Nawaz
- Hussain Nawaz
- Samina Durrani (Shahbaz Sharif’s relative)
- Ilyas Mehraj (Shahbaz Sharif’s relative)
Although no offshore entity is directly owned by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, as many as eight companies have been identified that are linked either with Hussain Nawaz, his sister, and brother or Shahbaz’s relatives, the documents show.
Maryam Nawaz is the secret beneficial owner of two companies set up in 1993-94. She is also the shareholder of another company jointly owned by her and Hussain Nawaz. Hassan is the sole owner of yet another offshore holding. The companies have last been used for purchasing six properties in London during 2007-8.
Shahbaz Sharif’s relative Ilyas Mehraj has been mentioned as a major shareholder of a company though he firmly denies it. Another relative of the Punjab CM Samina Durrani owns three companies; the latest was opened in 2010.
Source: The News
PPP in the Panama Papers
The late Benazir Bhutto was also accused of a bribery scandal and appeared in the Panama Papers leaks. Others related to her and her party named in these leaked papers are listed below.
- Hassan Ali Jaffery (Benazir’s nephew)
- Senator Rehman Malik (PPP)
The Panama Papers teach you how to hide billions away from tax
I’m sure you’d love to watch this video before you go away. It tells you how anyone can hide billions of dollars using offshore companies – something the Panama Papers has now revealed.