What exactly were the Panama papers, what did they reveal, and who all were named in it?
The Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled on Thursday that there was insufficient evidence to order the removal of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from his post but ordered the formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the case that has its origins in what are called the ‘Panama papers’.
Petitioners, based on the revelations of the Panama papers last year, had alleged that the Sharif family held illegal assets in London and sought the ouster of the Prime Minister because they alleged he was involved in corruption and was no more "honest" and "truthful" as is required by the Pakistani Constitution.
What are the Panama papers?
The Panama papers are a set of 11.5 million leaked documents belonging to a Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider, and the world’s fourth-biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. Obtained from an anonymous source by the German Newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists(ICIJ), the documents shocked the world as they revealed ways in which the rich and powerful make use of secretive offshore tax regimes.
143 politicians and their families, including 12 national leaders, were among those that were shown as using offshore tax havens.
The 2.6 terabytes data that was leaked covers 40 years, from 1977 through the end of 2015 and mentions 214,000 offshore entities.
According to data released by the Multi Agency Group which was set up last year to ensure a “speedy and coordinated” probe against those Indians whose names find a mention in the Panama Papers, 424 was the number of Indian clients of Monsack Fonseca whose PAN numbers had been traced , of which 205 have accepted links to offshore entities mentioned by the expose, while 60 others remain untraced.
Amongst the important world leaders named in the papers, there was Vladimir Putin, Xi Jingping, Nawaz Sharif and the late Benazir Bhutto.
From India, the most talked about names which figured in the papers were that of KP Singh of DLF, Amitabh Bachchan, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.