If someone thought that Pandora Papers did not cover the past three years of Imran Khan government they were proved wrong when the details of the leaked documents emerged.
The documents released as Pandora Paper were created between 1996 and 2020, ICIJ says. So, it covers at least two years of Imran Khan government.
There are fewer politicians than other people from Pakistan included in the papers.
The largest number of politicians is from Ukrain, where 38 statesmen were named. Russian has 19 politicians named in the Pandora Papers and India only 6.
However, it must be noted that the number does not include families or relatives of politicians involved in setting up offshore companies.
Origin of Data in Pandora Papers
The data comes from 14 entities, according to ICIJ. These companies provided services to their wealthy clients, politicians, businessmen, and retired military officials, to incorporate offshore companies in low- or no-tax jurisdictions.
“The entities enable owners to conceal their identities from the public and sometimes from regulators. Often, the providers help them open bank accounts in countries with light financial regulation,” ICIJ said.
The offshore service providers are based in British Virgin Islands, Seychelles, Hong Kong, Belize, Panama, South Dakota and other secrecy jurisdictions, according to ICIJ. Umar Cheema, the Pakistani member of the ICIJ, says most of the offshore companies were registered in British Virgin Islands.
A summary of the data shows Trident Trust Company Limited was the largest offshore service provide in British Virgin Islands. The second biggest company to yield documents was Alcogal in Panama.
Reasons behind creating offshore companies
The biggest advantage that owners of offshore companies enjoy is that they can mask their identities. However, the companies also help them live a luxurious life.
They use such entities to “purchase real estate, yachts, jets and life insurance” and “to make investments and to move money between bank accounts,” ICIJ said.
The offshore companies also help in “estate planning and other inheritance issues; and the avoidance of taxes through complex financial schemes.”
Documents linked to financial crimes
ICIJ says some of the documents revealed through Pandora Papers are tied to financial crimes, including money laundering.
The 11.9 million documents name “more than 330 politicians and 130 Forbes billionaires, as well as celebrities, fraudsters, drug dealers, royal family members and leaders of religious groups around the world.”
It is a trove of 2.94 terabyte data. The documents include passports, bank statements, tax declarations, company incorporation records, and real estate contracts.
“The Pandora Papers investigation also reveals how banks and law firms work closely with offshore service providers to design complex corporate structures.”