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Leaks reveal another 150 Pakistanis own offshore firms

lb01KARACHI: After the names of 259 Pakistanis with links to offshore companies surfaced in one of the world’s biggest-ever data called the Panama Papers in May, another cache of leaked documents emerged on Wednesday carrying the names of 150 Pakistanis who own companies in the Bahamas, a constellation of over 700 islands.

The data shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) with its media partners is originally obtained and released by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

In a statement, the ICIJ said that new “revelations”, published by the consortium, Süddeutsche Zeitung and news organisations in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa, revealed fresh information about offshore companies in the Bahamas.

Alongside detailed reporting, the ICIJ, Süddeutsche Zeitung and other media partners are making details from the Bahamas corporate registry available to the public. This creates, for the first time, a free, online and publicly-searchable database of offshore companies set up in the island nation that has sometimes been called “The Switzerland of the West”, the statement said.

“We see it as a service to the public to make this basic kind of information openly available,” the statement quoted ICIJ director Gerard Ryle as saying. “There is much evidence to suggest that where you have secrecy in the offshore world you have the potential for wrong doing. So let’s eliminate the secrecy.”

A brief detail shared by different media sources suggested that about 150 Pakistanis have been identified as directors of nearly 70 companies, out of 175,000 firms incorporated in the Bahamas between 1959 and 2016.

Among the Pakistanis, Jibran Khan, son of former federal minister Mohammad Naseer Khan, has been named in the ‘Bahamas leaks’, while the name of former Jamaat-i-Islami senator Professor Khursheed Ahmad is also found in the fresh data as director of a registered bank in Miami.

Obaid Altaf Khanani, Samina Durrani and Karachi-based builder Mohsin Sheikhani also own offshore companies. -DN


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