Economy

Bahama Leaks: More Offshore Secrets Revealed, Including Indian Links

Credit: Reuters

Credit: Reuters

Another investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung has revealed details of more than 175,000 companies, trusts and foundations registered in Bahamas, the Caribbean tax haven, Indian Express reported.

The same group had published a large-scale international investigation into papers leaked from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca five months ago, commonly known as the Panama Papers. Like the Panama Papers, documents for the Bahama Leaks were first accessed by Süddeutsche Zeitung, who then shared them with the ICIJ.

The Indian Express has been a part of both of these investigations, as they are a member of the ICIJ.

The leaked documents pertain to companies registered between 1990 and early 2016. According to the Indian Express, they “lift the veil of secrecy that the Bahamas offers to multinational corporations and also rich and powerful individuals by revealing the names of office bearers, shareholders or beneficial owners of the offshore entities”.

The leak also includes the names of 539 registered agents — corporate middlemen who serve as intermediaries between Bahamian authorities and offshore clients – one of which is Mossack Fonseca, the Indian Express reported.

In the documents provided, 475 India-linked files have been found. These refer to Indians across sectors such as mines and metals, electronics, real estate, media and entertainment. The Indian Express also reported that some names that came up during the Panama Papers have repeated themselves in the Bahama Leaks.

Another Indian Express report has detailed the Indian names found on the list. These range from Anil Agarwal of the Vedanta Group, Kabir Mulchandani of the erstwhile Baron Group, Rajan Madhu, Fashion TV India promoter and Aman Gupta, chairman and chief executive of Finnish water brand Veen Waters, among others.

Internationally, several big names have found associated with the Bahamas companies.

The former EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes, now an advisor to Bank of America and Uber, was recruited by a venture funded by the United Arab Emirates, The Guardian reported. After the leak, Kroes has been forced to admit that she breached the European commission’s code of conduct by not declaring her directorship of an offshore company while she was actively policing multinationals for the EU.

Carlos Caballero Argáez, Colombia’s minister of mines and energy between 1999 and 2001, has also been listed in the documents, with affiliations to two different companies, the Indian Express said.

The tax authority of Mexico has opened a probe into the documents to check for tax violations, a Reuters report said. More than 400 Mexicans have been named in the leak.