Upendra Mahato, Chaudhary kin among 7 Nepalis listed in ICIJ's Panama Papers data

KATHMANDU: Names of seven Nepalis appear in the Panama Papers offshore data that the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ) released on Monday.

Among them are Upendra Mahato, Nawang Dolma, Uma Devi Singhania, Arun Kumar Chaudhary, Suryansh Kumar Chaudhary, Karan Kumar Chaudhary and Shila Chaudhary.

ICIJ has integrated the new release with the Offshore Leaks database that it published in 2013.

The integrated database includes name of Nepali entrepreneur Satish Lal Acharya, suggesting that details about him originated from the Offshore Leaks.

Upendra Mahato, a businessman of Nepali origin based in Russia,  is the former president of Non-Residential Nepali Association, while Arun Kumar Chaudhary is the Managing Director of Chaudhary Group. Arun is a brother of Nepal's only billionaire Binod Kumar Chaudhary.

All Chaudharies are associated with the Chaudhary Group, while Singhania and Nawang Dolma are the least heard of names.

The database has published four addresses--three in Kathmandu and one in Siraha-- also linked to the Panama Papers.

The database shows Mahato to be connected to one address and two entities. With his permanent address in Karjaha of Siraha district in Nepal, it shows Mahato as shareholder of Spartley Ventures Limited and Pankur Finance Limited that are under the jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands.

The entities were created in 2008, and now their agent -- which means firm that provides services in an offshore jurisdiction to incorporate, register and manage them at the request of a client -- has been changed.

The OpenCorporates shows Mahato as director of two Cyprus-based firms -- Timeturns Holdings Limited and MoneyStart Ltd also.

With the personal address in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Nawang Dolma has been connected to two entities --Fix Union Holdings Ltd and Golden Cymbal International Limited -- as shareholder since 2012 and their status is active.  Both the firms are under the jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands.

Uma Devi Singhania's address is shown as Monte Vista, Ma On Shan, New Territories and she is connected to Spring Falls Limited as shareholder. The entity's incorporation was in 1998 and it is currently defaulted.

Satish Lal Acharya's address is shown as Singapore. He is shareholder in Leading Faith Incorporated set up in October 2006, and director of three other entities Pasa Holdings Limited (January 2009), Squares Star Inc. (April 2000), Lacell Holding Incorporated (September 2007).

The database shows all four entities were active when the Offshore Leaks was released, and they fall under the jurisdiction of British Virgin Islands.

In 2013, the ICIJ’s Offshore Leaks Database had listed 13 Nepalis. They were identified as 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.

They were said to be  “officers and master clients” of offshore companies.

The searchable database has stripped away the secrecy of nearly 214,000 offshore entities created in 21 jurisdictions, from Nevada to Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands, ICIJ said while releasing it.

According to ICIJ, it was publishing the information in the public interest.

Meanwhile, in its disclaimer, ICIJ has said that there are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts and it did 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.

"The new data that ICIJ is now making public represents a fraction of the Panama Papers, a trove of more than 11.5 million leaked files from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, one of the world’s top creators of hard-to-trace companies, trusts and foundations," ICIJ said.


(Images from ICIJ)