Ishaq dar orders FBR to collect info of people named in Panama, Bahamas leaks

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ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Tuesday ordered the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Nisar Muhammad Khan to approach the world’s nine tax havens to get information about the people involved in the Panama and Bahamas leaks.

The finance minister was chairing a meeting to review the actions taken against Panama and Bahamas leaks by the FBR, State Bank of Pakistan and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. Haroon Akhtar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue was also present on the occasion.

He emphasised that law must be followed while seeking additional information from foreign jurisdictions.

The FBR chairman briefed the meeting about the notices issued to those whose names appeared in both the leaks and the response thereon. The meeting was informed that there are a total of 9 jurisdictions, 270 companies and 444 individuals involved in Panama Leaks. Similarly, 150 Pakistanis were found in Bahamas Leaks, of which whereabouts of 110 were traced by the FBR, while in 40 cases addresses are being tracked.

Besides Panama and Bahamas, the tax havens included British Virgin Islands, Seychelles, Niue, Samoa, Anguilla, Mauritius, and Jersey.

The FBR chairman also said that Pakistan may have substantial economic stakes in jurisdictions which are considered as tax havens. Notices under Section 176 of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 were issued earlier by the FBR wherein ownership of companies/entities at Panama etc, and details about their financial and tax matters were asked. The FBR has received responses in 133 cases so far. The cross-matching of data of 155 individuals who are directors of 600 companies in Pakistan was carried out.

The chairman informed the minister that those who are not responding to the legal notices would be fined.

Dar ordered the FBR chairman that the countries concerned be approached through the Foreign Affairs Ministry for seeking more evidence and information about bank accounts, business assets, investments, etc of those persons and entities named in the leaks.

The government is under pressure from the opposition, especially the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, to probe those mentioned in the leaks.

The names of Nawaz Sharif’s sons and daughter are included in the Panama Leaks.

The meeting was attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Finance, Federal Board of Revenue, State Bank of Pakistan and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

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