Panama Papers to go public today, may contain some Nepali names

KATHMANDU: The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) is making public the database of the scandalous Panama Papers on Monday.

With information on more than 200,000 offshore entities, the searchable database is likely to include names and details of Nepali nationals also. In 2013, the ICIJ's Offshore Leaks Database had listed 13 Nepalis. *

An interactive map published in the Irish Times in Aprilbased on the data collected by ICIJ for the Panama Papers leak, suggested that there are seven people from Nepal who are shareholders in offshore firms.

Syed Nazakat, who is associated with the ICIJ and is the editor-in-chief of the Centre for Investigative Journalism in India, hinted on Twitter that the Panama Papers database includes names and details of Nepali nationals also.

#panamapapers #Nepal: More names to be released @gunaraj

— Syed Nazakat (@SyedNazakat) May 9, 2016

thousands of prosecutions could stem from the Panama Papers, if only law enforcement could act: #panamapapers #whistleblower: #Nepal

— Syed Nazakat (@SyedNazakat) May 8, 2016

The Nepal-based officers and master clients, allegedly involved in offshore businesses, according to the Offshore Leaks Database are:

  • Bijendra Joshi
  • Bijesh Kumar Todi Agrawal
  • Bimal Kazi Tamrakar
  • Binu Shrestha
  • Bishwa Barsingh Thapa
  • Bishwa Dhar Tuladhar
  • Dr Shyam Bahadur Karmacharya
  • Harish Kumar Todi
  • Professor Shatendra Kumar Gupta
  • Rajendra Kumar Karba
  • Reenuka Pradhan
  • Rekha Karba
  • Shashi Kant Agrawal

The ICIJ has defined an officer as "a person or company who plays a role in an offshore entity." Likewise, the "master clients" are those who act as "often an intermediary or go-between who helps a client set up an offshore entity."

Except Bijesh Kumar Todi Agrawal and Harish Kumar Todi, all of the persons named were from Kathmandu Valley. The Todi duo, according to the ICIJ, were based in Biratnagar of Morang.

There was, however, no name of Nepali national involved in any "offshore entities," which have been defined as "a company, trust or fund created in a low-tax, offshore jurisdiction."

The data included offshore business investments from more than 30 years of period before 2010.

The ICIJ, however, maintained that there "are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts."

"We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly."

Since early April, the ICIJ-coordinated limited release through roughly 100 media outlets of the ‘Panama Papers’ have become a worldwide scandal.

About 11.5 million leaked documents of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, reveal large-scale use of offshore entities to conceal assets from tax authorities.