10:19 AM | October 04, 2021
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has unveiled “Pandora Papers” which includes the names of more than 700 Pakistanis, it emerged on Sunday.
The leaked documents revealed that key politicians including federal cabinet members, opposition party leaders, “have secretly owned an array of companies”.
Most prominently these include Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi, Senator Faisal Vawda, Federal minister Khusro Bakhtiar’s family, Ishaq Dar’s son, PPP’s Sharjeel Memon, Punjab minister and PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan, Axact CEO Shoaib Sheik, among others.
According to the investigation’s findings, Finance Minister Tarin and his family members own four offshore companies.
Former minister for water resources Faisal Vawda set up an offshore company in 2012 to invest in UK properties, the Pandora Papers show. The now-senator told the ICIJ that he had declared all foreign assets held in his name to tax authorities.
The expose further revealed that the son of former finance adviser to the prime minister Waqar Masood Khan co-owned a company based in the British Virgin Islands. Khan told the ICIJ that he did not know what his son’s company did and that his son lived a “modest life”, and was not his dependent.
“The records also reveal the offshore dealings of Arif Naqvi, who is facing fraud charges in the United States,” the ICIJ said.
Moreover, the documents contain no suggestion that PM Imran Khan himself owns offshore companies.
According to the report, leaked documents revealed that “key members” of Prime Minister Imran’s inner circle, including cabinet ministers, their families and major financial backers “have secretly owned an array of companies and trusts holding millions of dollars of hidden wealth”.
“Military leaders have been implicated as well,” it said, clarifying that the documents contained “no suggestion” that Imran himself owned offshore companies.
“The records also reveal the offshore dealings of a top PTI donor, Arif Naqvi, who is facing fraud charges in the United States,” the ICIJ said.
Naqvi, the financier and major donor to Prime Minister Imran’s 2013 election campaign, owned several offshore companies. The files show that in 2017, Naqvi transferred ownership of UK holdings – three luxury apartments, his country estate and a property in London’s suburbs – into an offshore trust operated by Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank declined to respond to ICIJ’s questions concerning the beneficiaries of the trust.
The next year, he presided over the spectacular collapse of his Dubai-based private equity firm, Abraaj Group, which also owns K-Electric.
US prosecutors charged Naqvi with engineering a $400 million fraud against Abraaj investors and this year persuaded a court to allow his extradition from the UK. Naqvi has denied wrongdoing.