Sunday, 19 August 2018

259 more Pakistanis named in fresh episode of Panama leaks

Names of 259 Pakistanis with links to offshore companies have surfaced in one of the world’s biggest ever data leaks through an online searchable database made public by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) late Monday evening.

The names in the latest release of documents on the website offshoreleaks.icij.org include: Abdul Sattar Dero, a former general manager of the Port Qasim Authority; Shaukat Ahmed, the ex-president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI); Saba Obaid, mother of renowned filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy; Irfan Puri; Salman Ahmed; Gul Muhammad Tabba; Hussain Dawood with sons Abdul Samad Dawood and Shazada Dawood; Maya Ismael, daughter of the late Inayat Ismael; Ali Siddiqui, son of banker and stock broker Jahangir Siddiqui and Mir Shakil ur Rahman of the Jang Group. Rehman has reportedly said that the company was dormant with no money in it.

The database contains ownership information about companies created in 10 offshore jurisdictions including the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands and Singapore. It covers nearly 30 years until 2010.

The database is flooded with traffic from around the world and will take more time to fully sift through.

Obaid-Chinoy responded to a request for comment saying, “I fully support ICIJ and the laudable efforts being made by it… I would, however, like to clarify that in that my name is not mentioned in the Panama leaks and I am neither the legal nor the beneficial owner of any enterprise mentioned in the Panama Papers.”

“There is a mention of my mother, Mrs Saba Obaid (wife of Late S.M. Obaid) and I say with confidence that the offshore companies mentioned in the Panama Papers as being owned by my mother are compliant with the applicable laws.”

While the fresh digital cache includes the names of members of Pakistan’s business elite, it is not immediately ascertainable whether the documents contain names of political heavyweights like the explosive April 3 Panama leaks that named Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s children Maryam, Hassan and Hussain among other world leaders having offshore wealth.

The leaks allege that while he was in opposition, Sharif’s children raised a £7 million loan from Deutsche Bank against four flats in London’s Park Lane owned by offshore companies based in the British Virgin Islands.

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