Probe against 700 Pakistanis named in Pandora Papers begins

Current or former public office holders and business figures will be investigated separately


Our Correspondent October 10, 2021
SCREENGRAB

ISLAMABAD:

The federal government has launched a formal probe against the 700 Pakistanis whose name appeared in the Pandora Papers last week.

The country’s top investigation agencies have been tasked to investigate those individuals. The agencies will also seek help from the provincial revenue departments and Nadra.

On October 3, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) opened a Pandora’s box – a massive trove of private financial records, dubbed Pandora Papers.

The leaks also named some 700 Pakistanis, including cabinet members, allegedly hiding financial secrets via offshore companies.

The ICIJ stated that key members of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s inner circle, including cabinet ministers, their families and major financial backers had secretly owned an array of companies and trusts holding millions of dollars of hidden wealth.

The government had announced it will establish a high-level cell under the Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission to question all individuals, who are part of the Pandora Papers with the aim to present the facts before the nation.

Also read: Ex-military officers, families among those named in Pandora Papers

The ICIJ’s investigation was the result of 600 journalists in 117 countries, studying for months roughly 11.9 million leaked documents.

In light of the investigation, reports will be provided to the FIA, NAB and FBR so that legal action could be taken against the Pakistanis who invested in the offshore companies according to the Pakistani law.

The Pandora Papers investigation has been divided into two parts according to which current or former public office holders and the business figures will be investigated separately.

In the first phase, details of Pakistanis who names appeared in the Pandora Papers are being collected pertaining to their businesses, bank accounts and properties in the country along with their daily expenses, children's education and marriage expenses.

Apart from this, the details of their foreign trips, medical treatment and shopping are also being collected. The agency will also gather specifics about their public and private bank accounts, mobile data, travel agents and booking details of private hotels.

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