Panama Papers leak: 7 shareholders from Nepal linked?

KATHMANDU: An interactive map published in the Irish Times, apparently based on the data collected by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) for the Panama Papers leak, suggested that there are seven people from Nepal who are shareholders in offshore firms, and linked to the possible tax evasion.

The ICIJ's exclusive website on the leak, however, has not published their names yet.

ICIJ said it will release the full list of companies and people linked to them in early May.

In collaboration with the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and 108 other media outlets around the globe, the ICIJ on Sunday published more than 11.5 million internal files of the law firm Mossack Fonseca, based in the tax haven of Panama.

The project scrutinissed 11.5 millions of records of hundreds of thousands of Mossack Fonseca's clients. The data are

The leak includes 2.6 TB data, from 1977 through the end of 2015. The data contains a few incorporations before 1977, but they are sporadic and represent less than 1% of the companies, the ICIJ said.

Irish Times is one of the media outlets involved in the Panama Papers project.

According to the ICIJ, the secret files:

  • Include 11.5 million records, dating back nearly 40 years – making it the largest leak in offshore history. Contains details on more than 214,000 offshore entities connected to people in more than 200 countries and territories. Company owners in billionaires, sports stars, drug smugglers and fraudsters.
  • Reveal the offshore holdings 140 politicians and public officials around the world – including 12 current and former world leaders. Among them: the prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, the president of Ukraine, and the king of Saudi Arabia.
  • Document some $2 billion in transactions secretly shuffled through banks and shadow companies by associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Include the names of at least 33 people and companies blacklisted by the U.S. government because of evidence that they’d been involved in wrongdoing, such as doing business with Mexican drug lords, terrorist organizations like Hezbollah or rogue nations like North Korea and Iran.
  • Show how major banks have driven the creation of hard-to-trace companies in offshore havens. More than 500 banks their subsidiaries and their branches – including HSBC, UBS and Société Générale – created more than 15,000 offshore companies for their customers through Mossack Fonseca.

    (Source: ICIJ)

Earlier in 2013, ICIJ had released data on suspected massive tax fraud carried out in the name of offshore companies.

The ICIJ's offshore leaks database had listed 13 Nepalisand two offshore entities -- Nepal Pacific Group Inc. and World Distribution Nepal Pvt. Ltd that apparently bore connection with Nepali nationals.

The individuals -- 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 Kabra, Reenuka Pradhan, Rekha Kabra and Shashi Kant Agarwal -- were identified as "officers and master clients" of the offshore companies.

ICIJ has defined officer as a person or company who plays a role in an offshore entity, which is a company, trust or fund created in a low-tax, offshore jurisdiction. Master client, on the other hand, means an intermediary or go-between who helps a client set up an offshore entity.

ICIJ, however, said in the website that it did not intend to suggest or imply that the persons, companies or other entities included in the database had broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.