- The Union Government has reconstituted Multi-Agency Group (MAG) to investigate cases relating to ‘Paradise Papers’ data disclosure which is also probing the Panama Papers leak.
- It will be led by Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman and will have representatives from Enforcement Directorate, RBI and Financial Intelligence Unit.
What are the Paradise Papers?
- The Paradise Papers are a huge leak of financial documents that throw light on the top end of the world of offshore finance.
- The Paradise Papers name was chosen because of the idyllic profiles of many of the offshore jurisdictions whose workings are unveiled, including Bermuda, the HQ of the main company involved, Appleby.
Who is being exposed?
- The offshore financial affairs of hundreds of politicians, multinationals, celebrities and high-net-worth individuals, some of them household names, have been revealed. The papers also throw light on the legal firms, financial institutions and accountants working in the sector and on the jurisdictions that adopt offshore tax rules to attract money.
Where do the Paradise Papers come from?
- There are more than 1,400GB of data, containing about 13.4 million documents. Some 6.8 million come from the offshore legal service provider Appleby and corporate services provider Estera. The two operated together under the Appleby name until Estera became independent in 2016. Another six million documents come from corporate registries in some 19 jurisdictions, mostly in the Caribbean. A smaller amount comes from the Singapore-based international trust and corporate services provider, Asiaciti Trust. The leaked data covers seven decades, from 1950 to 2016.
What is Appleby?
- A law firm that helps corporations, financial institutions and high-net-worth individuals set up and register companies in offshore jurisdictions.
- Founded in Bermuda and with a history dating back to the 1890s, it has become one of the largest and best known of about 10 major companies involved in the specialist arena. The leak shows the US dominates Appleby's client register, with more than 31,000 US addresses for clients. There were more than 14,000 UK addresses and 12,000 in Bermuda.