Pakistanis stash $50b in offshore companies | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Pakistanis stash $50b in offshore companies

Pakistan Press Foundation

Washington – The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists on Monday published online detailed data from the Panama Papers trove on more than 200,000 secret offshore companies, which contains names of many more Pakistanis.

The searchable database built on just a portion of the documents leaked from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca reveals more than 360,000 names of individuals and companies behind the anonymous shell firms, the ICIJ said.

Reports already published in April based on the explosive dossier linked some of the world’s most powerful leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s children and others to unreported offshore companies.

The names of 400 Pakistanis owning over 250 companies have also come to fore. Their wealth in these offshore companies is estimated at around $50 billion.

According to details, more than 150 citizens of Karachi and 100 citizens of Lahore are named in the Leaks. Residents of Islamabad, Peshawar and Gujrat also feature in the revelations.

Right from the family of Zulfikar (Zulfi) Bokhari, a close friend of Imran Khan, to Irfan Puri, an oil czar equally close to the PPP/MQM leadership and presently in Dubai jail; from Tariq Islam, a cousin of Benazir Bhutto, to the son of former health minister Naseer Khan; from the family of famous Seth Abid to the son of Admiral (r) Muzaffar Hassan; and from the Port Qasim Authority’s former MD and NRO beneficiary Abdul Sattar Dero to the former president of Karachi chamber of commerce, Shaukat Ahmed, are in the list.

Saifullah family of Lucky Marwat owned the highest number of offshore companies from Pakistan and the biggest owner among them is Javed Saifullah, who owns 17 companies while Humayun Saifullah owns nine offshore companies.

The most favourite country of the Pakistanis for establishing offshore companies is British Virgin Island where they made 153 companies, followed by Panama.

Sajid Mehmood, son of businessman Seth Abid, also made it into the list. It should be noted that 30 companies are owned by the family under the banner of Abid Group.

Ex-managing director of Port Qasim Authority Abdul Sattar Dero and his family members Zahida Dero, Fahad Dero and Fawwad Dero are also said to be co-owners of offshore companies.

Saba Chinoy, mother of Pakistani-oscar winning director Sharmeen-Obaid Chinoy, is also said to be linked with offshore companies.

Former president of Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry Shaukat Ahmed is the owner of an offshore company. His son Imran Shaukat and daughter-in-law are said to be shareholders in that company.

Former health minister Naseer Khan has also been accused of having offshore wealth. Son of retired admiral Muzaffar Hassan, also made it to the list.

Moonis Elahi, son of former Punjab chief minister Pervaiz Elahi, has one company namely Olive Grove Assets Ltd.

Mir Shakilur Rahman, Owner of the Jang Group, has one company – Marine Properties Limited.

Abdul Aleem Khan of the PTI also features in the leaks.

As far as Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bokhari (Zulfi Bokhari) is concerned, he has been identified in connection with the offshore companies he own along with his two sisters. There are six companies owned by Zulfi family: K-Factor Limited, Bradbury Resources Ltd, Bayteck Limited, Bayla Trading Limited, Poreim Trading Limited and Ganstam Trading Limited.

Ownership of three companies have been identified in connection with Irfan Iqbal Puri, a businessman enjoying equally good relations with Asif Ali Zardari and Altaf Hussain. Together with his son, Irfan is shareholder of the following companies registered in the British Virgin Islands – IP Commodities Limited, IP Global Limited and Pure Palm Oil Limited.

Link Investments Limited, a company registered in Bahamas, identified Tariq Islam, cousin of Benazir Bhutto, as its owner.

Destiny Investment Development Limited and Simkins International Limited are two offshore companies owned by an NRO beneficiary and former MD Port Qasim Authority, Abdul Sattar Dero.

Nabila-Matrix Limited, an offshore company of British Virgin Islands, identifies its shareholders as Azfar Hassan (a Lahore-based businessman and son of Admiral (r) Muzaffar Hassan) and Nadeem Iqbal Saigol.

Mehreen Akbar, the wife of Ghous Akbar, has been identified as a shareholder of four companies created for holding properties in UK. Other shareholders are her sisters, Irum and Mahim whereas bearer share certificates have also been issued in the name of AKB Privatebank Zurich AG, Switzerland that is also custodian of the companies accounting record. Mark Investment Limited, IMM Gulf Limited, Indigo Properties Limited and Zarmay Investments Ltd are their companies registered in Republic of Seychelles.

Ghous Akbar told a media outfit on Monday that he had nothing to do with the companies operated by his in-laws.

Owners of Olympia International, Munir Monnoo and his son, Humayun, set up a company, Clifton Holdings Services Incorporated in Panama. Purpose of setting up the company has been described as “holding a bank account in Switzerland”.

Valliani family has been identified in connection with four companies: European American, Investments Limited, Polenta Capital, Ikogenia Trust and Emirates Commerce Limited. Fawaz Valliani (CEO of Elixir Securities), Zehra Valliani (a fashion and jewellery designer in Islamabad) and their mother, Sameena Valliani.

ICIJ said Monday it is publishing some of the information catalogued in a database “in the public interest,” as a global movement against tax evasion and the secrecy accorded the beneficial owners of anonymous shell companies gains force.

The database “allows users to explore the networks of companies and people that used – and sometimes abused – the secrecy of offshore locales with the help of Mossack Fonseca and other intermediaries,” the ICIJ said.

But it said it was not making available raw records online, nor was it putting all the information from the records out, in part to prevent access to bank account details and personal data of those mentioned.

The data came from nearly four decades of digital archives of Mossack Fonseca, one of the leading firms in the world for creating secret companies.

It is not known how the documents came to light; Mossack Fonseca says its computer records were hacked from abroad.

However they were obtained, “John Doe” first provided them to the German newspaper Süeddeustche Zeitung, which then approached ICIJ to organize a collective analysis of them.

Reports thus far have focused on scores of high-profile individuals: political leaders, celebrities and a few criminals.

Mossack Fonseca on Thursday issued a “cease and desist” lawyer to the US-based ICIJ, saying that to put up the information publicly would violate attorney-client privilege.

But ICIJ says it is important the public be able to look at information on any offshore company in the Panama Papers.

“We think that information about who owns the company should be public and transparent,” Marina Walker Guevara, deputy director of the ICIJ, told CNN.

She stressed, however, that “this is not disclosing private information en masse.”

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