South Asian governments launch probes into Pandora Papers scandal
Islamabad/New Delhi, Oct 5 (EFE).- The release of the “Pandora Papers,” a journalistic investigation into rich and powerful people from across the world hiding money in tax havens, has led to South Asian government announcing investigations into the findings on Tuesday.
In Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan thanked the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists for the investigation and said he was forming a high-powered cell to look into the matter.
“The cell will find out if there are cases of money laundering, tax evasions or corruption involved in setting up offshore companies,” information ministry spokesperson Muhammed Afzal told EFE on Tuesday.
“If any such cases (of fraud) are found, they will be referred to the Federal Investigation Agency” or other competent authorities, he added.
The Pandora Papers, which consist of 11.9 million confidential files from 14 firms that were involved in establishing shell companies in tax havens, include the name of 700 Pakistani citizens.
According to the ICIJ, the close circle around the Pakistani Prime prime minister – including members of his cabinet and their families – has hidden millions of dollars in companies and other entities outside that country.
Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin and Water Resources Minister Moonis Elahi have been named in the probe, along with family members of other ministers and political leaders associated with the government.
However, the leak does not establish a direct personal link between the offshore accounts and Khan, who had come to power on the back of a campaign against corruption.
The prime minister tweeted that the government “will investigate all our citizens mentioned in the Pandora Papers.”
The papers also links the names of owners of Pakistani media houses to offshore companies.