Bangladeshis named as Panama Papers database goes online | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 10, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:21 AM, May 10, 2016

Bangladeshis named as Panama Papers database goes online

Three new companies, 14 new addresses and a host of names with links to Bangladesh were among the second list of the offshore entities that were published early today by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

Bangladesh Biman Inc, Islamic Solidarity Shipping Company Bangladesh, and Bangladesh Textile Agencies Ltd were the three new entities.

Mehboob Chowdhury, Bilkis Fatima Jesmin, Abul Bashar, M Selimuzzaman, Rudy Ben-Jamin, Yusuf Raihan Reza, Novera Chowdhury, Benzir Ahmed, Afzalur Rahman, Sudhir Mullick, Jiban Kumar Sarkar, and Nizam M Selim, among others, have been named in the Panama Papers with links to Bangladesh. This does not suggest any wrongdoing.

The leaks show that the names of the entities are largely foreign sounding but the addresses used are located in Bangladesh.

The addresses include Mrs Reem Tariq El Mutwalli of Rosabel Limited located in 65-66 Motijheel Commercial Area; Peter Scrancher of Paradise Isle Holdings Ltd of Raozan, Chittagong; Madina Smagulov of Forrell Real Estate Inc of Gulshan; Marcos Augusto De Moraes Lake Strand Corp in Gulshan; Diego Alfredo Giucci Schmidt of HMLS SA in Gulshan; Ekaterina Kunitskaya of Whitesand Corporation Ltd in Baridhara; and Wei Huahai of Kyde SCM Ltd located at Concord Tower, Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Bangladesh.

The addresses also include: Rafael Salomao Prado of RS Prado Ltd at Boro Moghbazar; Dr John Richard Forrest of Leparin Ltd in Mirpur; Lo Kit Yee Grace of Top Switch International Ltd in Banani; Aleksandr Zakharov of Direx Enterprises Ltd in Panchlaish, Chittagong; Huang Shu-Hui of Kuo Peng Ltd at Mirpur; Chiu Hsiao-Chun of Sun Speed Trading Ltd in Baridhara; and Tang Vung Kong Stephane of Kit Micro Co Ltd in Gulshan.

In South Asia, the second list released by Panama Papers revealed that around 400 Pakistanis have established 350 offshore companies. They include various renowned businessmen, politicians and social figures, reported Pakistan-based the News.

 The data, collated by the ICIJ, comes from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca and includes information about companies, trusts, foundations and funds incorporated in 21 tax havens.

 The database is accessible at www.offshoreleaks.icij.org.

 This ICIJ database contains information on almost 320,000 offshore entities that are part of the Panama Papers and the Offshore Leaks investigations. The data covers nearly 40 years up to the end of 2015 and links to people and companies in more than 200 countries and territories.

The ICIJ website says it does 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.

But BBC reported that the Panama Papers have shown how some wealthy people use offshore firms to evade tax and avoid sanctions.

The papers belonged to Mossack Fonseca were leaked by a source simply known as "John Doe". The company denies any wrongdoing.

 The documents have revealed the hidden assets of hundreds of politicians, officials, current and former national leaders, celebrities and sports stars.

The database also displays information about more than 100,000 additional offshore entities ICIJ had already disclosed in its 2013 Offshore Leaks investigation.

 Among those whose affairs have come under scrutiny include UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and Mauricio Macri of Argentina, along with Argentinean football star Lionel Messi, Hong Kong film legend Jackie Chan and Spanish movie director Pedro Almodovar.

 Iceland's prime minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson resigned after the matter came to light.

Mossack Fonseca says it has never been accused or charged with criminal wrongdoing. It says it is the victim of a hack.

Offshore companies are not illegal but their function is often to conceal both the origin and the owners of money, and to avoid tax payments.

 Eleven million documents held by the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca have been passed to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung by "John Doe" more than a year ago. The German newspaper then shared them with the ICIJ. Some 107 media organisations in 76 countries have been analysing the documents.

The Panama Papers underscore the fundamental injustices and inequalities created by the offshore system, media commentators and political leaders say.

 “When taxes are evaded, when state assets are taken and put into these havens, all of these things can have a tremendous negative effect on our mission to end poverty and boost prosperity,” Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank, said as he opened the spring meetings of the World Bank and IMF in Washington soon after ICIJ and more than 100 other news organisations began revealing the results of the media collaboration's investigation, according to the ICIJ.

 US President Barack Obama, meanwhile, pointed out that the biggest problem was that many of the schemes revealed by the Panama Papers were legal. “It's not that they're breaking the laws, it's that the laws are so poorly designed.”

The revelations reignited the debate about the need for public registries in which information about who ultimately controls a company be accessible to all.

The UK has made disclosure of beneficial owner data mandatory and public, but British overseas territories such the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands, some of the busiest offshore havens, have agreed to share that information only when it is requested by law enforcement agencies.

Citing the Panama Papers, the US government also announced Thursday that it has sent legislation to Congress to create a centralised federal registry of the actual owners of any newly created company. The registry would help law enforcement authorities ferret out the real people behind anonymous companies used in money laundering and other wrongdoing.

 The governments of Australia and Germany have said that they too intend to create public registries of company owners.

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