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NEW DELHI: A year after the Panama Papers, a new set of data taken from another offshore law firm, Appleby, could expose the hidden wealth of individuals, including Indians, and show how corporations, hedge funds and others may have skirted taxes.
Among the 180 countries represented in the data (being dubbed Paradise Papers), India ranks 19th in terms of the number of names, a report on Indian Express website said.
In all, there are 714 Indians in the tally, it reported. Interestingly, an Indian firm figures as Appleby’s second-largest client globally, with at least 118 different offshore entities, it said.
The disclosure comes two days before the NDA government marks the first anniversary of the demonetisation drive on November 8, which the Centre will observe as An ti-Black Money Day.
The leaked documents also show that US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, the Trump administration’s pointman on trade and manufac turing policy, has a stake in a firm that does business with a gas producer partly owned by the son-in-law of Russian l President Vladimir Putin.
According to records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Ross is an investor in Navigator Holdings, a shipping giant that counts Russian gas and petrochemical producer Sibur among its major customers. Putin’s son-in-law Kirill Shamalov once owned over 20% of the company, but now holds a much smaller stake.
The latest revelations come out of an investigation led by the ICIJ, which was pro vided data collected in an alleged hack in 2016 of Appleby Global Group Services, a Bermuda firm providing legal services for hedge fund managers and corporations.
The leak also revealed that millions of pounds from the private estate of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II have been invested in offshore tax haven funds.
Around £10 million ($13 million, EUR11.3 million) of the Queen’s private money was placed in funds held in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda,
The investments, which were entirely legal, were made through the Duchy of Lancaster, which provides the monarch with an income and handles investments of her vast estate and remain current, the media outlets said.
There is no suggestion that the Queen’s private estate acted illegally or failed to pay any taxes due.
But the leaks may raise questions over whether it is appropriate for the British head of state to invest in offshore tax havens.
Reporters working with the ICIJ, which was also behind the release of the Panama Papers, are reviewing the millions of pages of documents that reveal strategies used to hide assets and avoid taxes.
Among the individuals and companies expected to be cited in the articles are Glencore Inc and Yuri Miltner, an early backer of Facebook.
Appleby has said its data was breached and that it investigated issues raised by journalists and found no evidence of wrongdoing.