Pandora Papers: The Government has Launched an Investigation

Pandora Papers: The government directed the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to lead a multi-agency investigation involving the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) into individuals and corporate entities named in the media investigation known as the “Pandora Papers.”

The Union finance ministry said that after the probe, action will be taken against unethical persons under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015. The government established the act in response to previous disclosures by the International Consortium of International Journalists (ICIJ), with the goal of reducing black money, concealed foreign holdings, and undeclared revenues. In such circumstances, it allows for “appropriate tax and penalty.”

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“Undisclosed credits of roughly Rs. 20,352 crore (status as on 15.09.2021) have been found in the Panama and Paradise Papers investigations,” the finance ministry stated in a statement.

On Sunday, October 3, 2021, the International Consortium of Investigative Journal (ICIJ) released a 2.94 terabyte data dump that allegedly reveals the offshore secrets of affluent elites from over 200 countries and territories.

According to the statement, the latest investigation is based on a leak of confidential records from 14 offshore service providers who provide professional services to wealthy individuals and corporations seeking to establish shell companies, trusts, foundations, and other entities in low- or no-tax jurisdictions.

“These trends have been noted by the government. The competent investigating agencies will look into these situations, and appropriate legal action would be taken if necessary, according to the finance ministry.

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The government would also proactively interact with foreign countries to acquire information on relevant taxpayers and entities to ensure successful inquiry in these matters, according to the statement.

It further stated that the government is a member of an Inter-Governmental Group that ensures collaboration and knowledge sharing in order to efficiently address tax concerns associated with such leaks.

“So far, just the names of a few Indians (both legal firms and individuals) have appeared in the media. The names and other details of all the entities have yet to be posted on the ICIJ website (www.icij.org). According to the ICIJ’s website, information will be provided in stages, with structured data related to the Pandora Papers investigation being released only in the coming days on the Offshore Leaks Database.

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