Pandora Papers survey: most foreign jurisdictions respond to FIU requests

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), a key unit of the multi-agency 2021 Global Offshore Survey called the Pandora’s Papersreceived responses from its counterparts in more than three quarters of the requests it sent to 33 foreign jurisdictions.

Officials said that the use of CRF’s network in most of the offshore havens mentioned in The Indian Express investigation (October 4-16, 2021), the FIU sent 160 requests to foreign jurisdictions and received responses in 125 cases so far.

The broad scope of the Pandora Papers investigation into the FIU is evidenced by the fact that a total of 482 “subjects” or natural and legal persons (including offshore companies) were covered by these bilateral information requests. .

It is learned that “significant” and “additional” information has been received by India from other FIUs regarding the 482 topics mentioned in the Pandora Papers.

The new information includes details of existing and additional foreign bank accounts; equity investments by offshore entities; confirmation of beneficial owners (BOs) and settlors of offshore trusts, and equity and real estate investments made by persons named in the Pandora Papers.

Individuals include both Resident Indians and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).

The FIU has sent the details of the individual cases to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) to expedite their investigations into the Pandora Papers.

As previously stated (The Indian ExpressDecember 24, 2021), cooperation between FIUs in the Pandora Papers investigation is taking place under the umbrella of the Egmond Group, an umbrella organization that brings together FIUs from 167 countries with the aim of facilitating a secure exchange of “financial intelligence to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The Indian Express was among 150 outlets that covered the Pandora Papers, data from which was obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The Pandora Papers offshore data contained details of 29,000 offshore companies, registered by 14 companies located in different tax havens.

The CBDT, meanwhile, responded to an RTI request filed by The Indian Express and said the stage of notifying “tangible progress” in the Pandora Papers business group was yet to be reached.

RTI’s response, dated August 25, states, “Government of India has become aware of them (the Pandora Papers) and investigation into these cases is ongoing…investigation into such cases takes considerable time as it requires obtaining the required information from the persons concerned. foreign jurisdictions”.

The CBDT said “…a tangible result in these cases can only be reported after the completion of the assessment and appeal process which is initiated at the end of the investigation in such cases” .

The CBDT is the lead agency of the Multi-Agency Group (MAG) which was set up by the government to survey the Pandora Papers on October 4, 2021, the day the global media exposure was published. Besides the CBDT and the CRF, officials from the ED and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are members of the MAG and are present at every meeting to review the progress of the investigation.

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