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Panama Leak: IT Dept Chasing Tax Havens, Adani’s Surname Change

The IT department has been sending notices to the tax havens since 2013.

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Business
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Dawood Link in Panama via Iqbal Mirchi’s Offshore Entities

The Panama Papers not only confirm what Indian security agencies had in their dossier on Iqbal Mirchi, who allegedly handled finances of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, but also expose the network of offshore companies that Mirchi family used to pick up properties, reports The Indian Express.

The report explains, Mirchi used Country Properties Limited as a front company to buy properties in countries like Cyprus, Turkey, Morocco and Spain. The Mossack Fonseca files confirm that Country Properties Limited is present in the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven. A second link to Mirchi is the existence of a complex multi-layered called Dates Foundation, whose Settlor is his brother-in-law Akbar Asif. Offshore entities registered in British Virgin islands owned properties of Akbar Asif, which were governed by the Dates Foundation.

Mirchi died in 2013 in London aged 63.

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Gautam Adani’s Brother Set up Firm in Bahamas

Months after the formation of Adani Group’s flagship Adani Enterprises in 1993, industrialist Gautam Adani’s elder brother Vinod Shantilal Shah Adani set up a company in the Bahamas – GA International – in January 1994. Mossack Fonseca was their registered agent. The entity sought to change names, transferred ownership, duly corrected all documents backdating since 1994, and instructed Fonseca not to reveal beneficial owners and directors, when such information was asked for.

Govt Mulls Multi-agency Probe Into Panama Leaks

The government is setting up a special multi-agency group to look into all cases of Indians setting up offshore companies in tax havens, on the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The agency will comprise officers from the investigative unit of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) as also its Foreign Tax and Tax Research division, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

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Congress Says Hand Over Files to SC as Part of Black Money Probe

The Congress has said that the Panama Papers should be handed over to the Supreme Court, which is looking into the black money issue. It called the BJP government’s decision to constitute a multi-agency group a “shoddy attempt” to brush the issue aside.

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India Hits a Wall on Information Sought From Tax Havens

Even before the Panama Papers leak, the income tax department has been pursuing individuals and companies that have sought to evade taxes by parking money in tax havens. The Indian Express reports India has reached out to authorities in British Virgin Islands (BVI), Seychelles and Panama, for financial details and ownership structures of offshore entities. But as the Fonseca files reveal, in most cases, the structure of the offshore entity is so layered that even local authorities have a tough time culling information or links.

Mossack Fonseca is is the registered agent for at least seven offshore entities about whom Indian authorities have sought information.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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