Citizens' Issues
Panama Papers: Unravelling hidden wealth of rich and powerful
The disclosures over the weekend by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reveal how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth
 
Over 2,600 GB of data comprising more than 11 million documents about some 214,000 hidden offshore companies owned by prominent people, including some from India, together make up for one of the biggest revelations called "Panama Papers".
 
The disclosures over the weekend by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reveal how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth. 
 
The documents were leaked from one of the world's lesser known law firm Mossack Fonseca based in Panama. 
 
ICIJ’s probe is unprecedented and is said to be larger than the US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks in 2010 and the secret intelligence documents given to media houses by Edward Snowden in 2013.
 
The ICIJ, together with the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 other media partners, including the Indian Express from India, spent a year sifting through 11.5 million leaked files to expose the offshore holdings of world political leaders, links to global scandals, and details of the hidden financial dealings of "fraudsters, drug traffickers, billionaires, celebrities, sports stars and more", the consortium said on its website.
 
The document trove includes nearly 40 years of data from the Panama law firm that has offices in more than 35 locations around the globe, and is one of the world’s top creators of shell companies, corporate structures that can be used to hide ownership of assets, according to the consortium.
 
ICIJ’s analysis of the leaked records revealed information on more than 214,000 offshore companies connected to people in more than 200 countries and territories. The top leaders under the scanner include Russian President Vladimir Putin and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif among others.
 
The data includes e-mails, financial spreadsheets, passports and corporate records revealing the secret owners of bank accounts and companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions, including Nevada, Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands.
 
ICIJ’s data and research unit indexed, organised and analysed the 2.6 terabytes of data that make up the leak, using collaborative platforms to communicate and share documents with journalists working in 25 languages in nearly 80 countries. All this was kept under wraps for about eight months since the investigation started.
 
The documents show how Mossack Fonseca helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax. The Panama company has, however, denied any wrongdoing. It says it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years and has never been charged criminally.
 
Gerard Ryle, director of the ICIJ, said the documents covered the day-to-day business at Mossack Fonseca over the past 40 years.
 
"I think the leak will prove to be probably the biggest blow the offshore world has ever taken because of the extent of the documents," he said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Banks Board can be effective in risk management: KPMG Survey
New Delhi: A majority of the banks in India favour a Banks Board that can help mitigate and manage the risks of the banking industry, according to a survey conducted by KPMG.
 
In the survey titled Model Risk Management Survey 2015-16 analysing the importance of the Board playing an active role in management of model risk, over 50 percent of respondents from private sector and 50 percent from public sector banks opine that the Board should play a pro-active role while 17 percent from the latter felt its role should be passive.
 
As many as 35 percent of the respondents of the KPMG survey were public sector banks, 53 percent private sector banks and 12 percent foreign banks.
 
The survey comes ahead of the first meeting of the Banks Board Bureau, formed to tackle rising bad loans and appointment of directors in public sector banks, on April 8.
 
"Model risk cannot be eliminated, only mitigated by good management. A combination of expert modelling and robust validation, while necessary, is not sufficient to eliminate model risk," said KPMG in India partner and head, risk consulting, Mritunjay Kapur.
 
Noting majority of the established banks in India have witnessed single-digit organic growth rates over the past years, partner and head, financial services, Naresh Makhijani, said that in a slow growth environment, banks which make efficient use of models/analytics are likely to grow at a higher rate.
 
The survey reports that in case of public sector banks, 39 percent of the respondents feel that they perform advanced activities with regards to model risk management but only 61 percent have adopted basic measures.
 
As many as 96 percent of the private sector respondents perform basic activities with regards to model risk management, but only 44 percent of them have adopted advanced measures to manage model risk, it said. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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SC grants bail to DU professor Saibaba

The apex court bench, headed by Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, granted bail to Saibaba noting that all the material witnesses in the case have already been examined and there was no basis for keeping him confined

 

The Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba, accused of being associated with a front organisation of a banned Maoist outfit.
 
The apex court bench, headed by Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, granted bail to Saibaba noting that all the material witnesses in the case have already been examined and there was no basis for keeping him confined.
 
The court was not moved as counsel for Maharashtra expressed the apprehension that Saibaba would propagate his views if he is set free. 
 
The court said that does not hold as he would be doing so even if he was released later. 
 
Granting bail to Saibaba, the court said his release would be subject to the conditions by the trial court as he would make himself available as and when he was required.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 

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