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Panama Papers 101: Amitabh & Aishwarya Bachchan Named

Anokhi DIY Anokhi Today Breaking News & Sports World Apr 06, 2016


Over the last year, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has been digging through 11.5 million eternal files from one of the world's most secretive companies, Mossack Fonseca.

These files, dubbed the "Panama Papers," have revealed how celebrities, millionaires and world leaders use tax havens to hide their wealth. 

The files were leaked to the German paper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which partnered with journalists from the BBC and The Guardian, among others, to release their findings in newspapers and websites around the world. Though no one knows who leaked the files, Wired says that the data leak is even bigger than the Wikileaks and Edward Snowden revelations. 

"Haha, I named my parents as directors on my offshore account. How about you, sasurji?
Photo Credit: Qz 

500 Indians were named as having hidden offshore wealth in Panama, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan listed her parents and brother as directors of Amic Partners Limited, but since the company dissolved in 2008 — like most shell companies do — her spokesperson has said the documents are “totally untrue and false.” Amitabh was named as a director of four shipping farms based in the BVI and Bahamas. 


People protest for Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson to resign over his connections to offshore companies.
Photo Credit: NPR

Along with these high-profile celebrities, the documents contain information on 140 politicians and public officials across the world. These include Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and many more leaders who have offshore accounts and companies.

The leaks have already had serious implications in Iceland, where Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson has resigned due to his ties to an offshore company with claims on Iceland's banks. It's a huge conflict of interest that prompted protests in the country's capital calling for his resignation. 

Although tax havens can be used legitimately, most are used as a way to funnel money into offshore accounts so that they don't incur heavy taxes in their home countries. It's particularly ironic that so many Indians were named in the leaks, as this practice was a platform issue for Prime Minister Modi, who called for a crackdown on black money and offshore banking. Amitabh got particularly trolled on Monday with his tweet from 2013. 


Permission to point the high irony of this…
Photo Credit: Twitter 

The Tax Justice Network estimates that there are over 80 tax havens in the world. It's too soon to write off what this huge leak has revealed about this shadow economy and how stratified the distribution of wealth is globally.

Main Image Photo Credit: www.livemint.com

Rumnique Nannar

Rumnique Nannar

Author

Rumnique Nannar is a new journalist with a passion for all things pop culture, film, and art. Rumnique was born in London, with a predilection for devouring English chocolate with her Vogue, ANOKHI, and Glamour magazines in tow. She is currently in her Journalism Masters at UBC. Connect ...

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