Shaukat Tarin clears the air after being named in Pandora Papers

No bank accounts were opened, no transactions took place and the companies stood closed, says finance minister


News Desk October 04, 2021
Finance Minister Shaukat Fayaz Ahmed Tarin gestures during a press conference. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Soon after being mentioned in the revelation made in the Pandora Papers, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin responded on his official Twitter handle, saying "no bank accounts were opened, no transactions took place and the companies stood closed".

"In 2014, M E Developers LLC of Tariq bin Laden wanted to invest in Silkbank. They got In Principal approval from the SBP and then opened four offshore accounts to raise structured finance to raise funds," the finance minister wrote.

He said that before anything could happen there was a problem of law and order in Pakistan and bin Laden decided not to invest, he added.

"No bank accounts were opened, no transactions took place and the companies stood closed."

According to the investigation's findings, Tarin and his family members own four offshore companies. It quoted Tariq Fawad Malik, a financial consultant who handled the paperwork for the companies, as saying that they were set up as part of the Tarin family’s intended investment in a bank with a Saudi business.

“As a mandatory prerequisite by [the] regulator, we engaged with the Central Bank of Pakistan to obtain their ’in-principle’ approval for the said strategic investment,” Malik said. The deal did not proceed.

Tarin didn’t respond to the ICIJ’s questions, but in a statement issued today, he said: “The offshore companies mentioned were incorporated as part of the fundraising process for my Bank.”

Read more: Pandora Papers exposed more layers of Nawaz, Zardari corruption: Fawad

According to Express News, nearly 700 Pakistanis have been named in the report including Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Punjab provincial minister Aleem Khan, PTI Senator Faisal Vawda, PML-Q Leader and Federal Minister for Water Resources Monis Elahi.

Besides, retired government officials, former and incumbent bureaucrats, businessmen including Axact’s owner Shoaib Ahmed Sheikh are also mentioned in the report.

The ICIJ’s major investigation titled: “The Pandora Papers”, is said to be the result of 600 journalists in 117 countries studying for months roughly 11.9 million documents that leaked from the offshore environment.

Late on Saturday, the ICIJ announced that it was going to release the “most expansive exposé of financial secrecy yet”. In 2016, the ICIJ had released the Panama Papers, which took the world by storm and eventually led to the downfall of governments, including Nawaz Sharif.

Also read: PM Imran vows to probe all Pakistanis named in Pandora Papers

Reacting to the revelation, Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed to investigate all those Pakistanis mentioned in the Pandora Papers saying: “If any wrongdoing is established we will take appropriate action.”

“We welcome the Pandora Papers exposing the ill-gotten wealth of elites, accumulated through tax evasion & corruption & laundered out to financial "havens". The UN SG's Panel FACTI calculated a staggering $7 trillion in stolen assets parked in largely offshore tax havens,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle.

 

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