KARACHI: The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) leaked a fresh series of 13.4 million documents naming some Pakistani politicians and business tycoons among the most influential people around the world involved in stashing money abroad through their investments in offshore tax havens.
The Paradise Papers shedding light on how two firms; Bermuda’s Appleby and Singapore’s Asiaciti Trust, help the global rich and powerful move their money abroad, hitting headlines globally just a year after the explosive Panama Papers that jolted the world last year.
According to the Paradise Papers, some of the Pakistani officials and politicians who have been named include former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz as well. According to the leaked papers, Aziz founded a trust – Antarctic Trust – in 1999, before he was nominated for the office of Prime Minister in 2004 during General Pervez Musharaf’s rule.
Aziz, who worked for Citibank before starting his career as a politician, was one of the shareholders and directors of Bahamas-registered Cititrust Limited from 1997 to 1999, along with other executives of the bank.
The trust does not appear in the financial disclosure statements Aziz submitted from 2003 to 2006, while he was finance minister and prime minister.
Mian Muhammad Mansha, one of the close aides of ousted PM Nawaz Sharif, has also been named in the second largest leak.
Mansha is the founder and CEO of the Lahore-based international conglomerate Nishat Group.
According to the Paradise Papers, Mian Mansha owns as many as six offshore companies, four of which are based in Britain’s Virgin Island and two others in Mauritius.
In 2015, Mansha had reportedly paid the amount, which is deemed as the highest tax paid ever in Pakistan.
Former National Insurance Corporation Limited (NICL) chairperson Ayaz Khan Niazi has been named in connection of four offshore companies and a trust in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
The three companies – Andalusian Establishment Limited, Andalusian Enterprises Limited and Andalusian Holdings Limited – were set up in 2010 when Niazi was NICL chairman, besides the Andalusian Discretionary Trust.
Niazi’s brothers Hussain Khan Niazi and Muhammad Ali Khan Niazi were shown as beneficial owners, whereas Ayaz, his father Abdul Razaq Khan, and mother Fauzia Razzaq acted as directors.
Another business tycoon Sadruddin Hashwani, chairman of Hashoo Group, named for owning two offshore companies; one in Barbados and another in UK’s Cayman Islands.
Pakistani national Obaid Khanani, whose father Altaf Khanani was arrested by U.S. authorities in September 2015 and accused of laundering billions of dollars for militants groups, among the others in the tally.
The list also entails Zaheer Uddin – who was issued a DTH (Digital TV) license by PEMRA – in connection of three offshore companies in British Virgin Islands. NNI