Just when we thought the news about the Panama Papers was dying down, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) announced that it plans to make it easier to find more names included in the documents. On May 9, the ICIJ will release a searchable database that will include information about more than 200,000 offshore entities that are named in the Panama Papers.
The papers come from a leak from Mossack Fonseca, a law firm in Panama that specializes in setting up offshore entities in tax havens around the world.
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More than 400 Pakistanis to be named in Panama Papers database
The Panama Papers includes millions of leaked documents, so it could take years to go through them all. This is why there will be fresh news about them popping up from time to time. There was a huge number of Pakistanis and Indians named in the first set of documents reviewed by the ICIJ, and there are probably still many more documents to go through. The organization believes the database it plans to release on May 9 will be the largest release of information about hidden offshore entities and the names of those who are connected with them.
Pakistan’s local news reports say that more than 400 Pakistani names who are listed in the Panama Papers will be included in the searchable database to be released. The media outlet adds that most of that list is made up of people belonging to the business class, who were found to have offshore entities in the British Virgin Islands, Panama, Seychelles, NIUE and other tax havens.
According to Geo TV, Karachi residents are named the most in terms of ownership of offshore entities, while Lahore is in second place. The media outlet also reports that most of the people live in Defence Housing Authority properties. Among the names who were listed in the first release from the Panama Papers is a long list of relatives an associates of deceased former Pakistan prime minister Benzir Bhutto. Real estate czar Malik Riaz Hussain’s son; ABM Group of Companies Chairman Azam Sultan, Pizza Hut owner Aqeel Hussain and family; hotel tycoon Sadruddub Hashwani and family; and many others.
It’s unclear just how many Pakistan citizens whose names didn’t make the first release will be included in the database, but because it will be easily searchable by anyone with Internet access, it seems likely that many more will come out.
Pakistani PM Sharif’s name removed from Panama Papers reports
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s children Hassan Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz, and Maryam Nawaz were also named in the first release, and apparently this has caused some confusion. The ICIJ admitted earlier this week that it had wrongly included the prime minister’s name in the news about the Panama Papers. The organization said he doesn’t operate any offshore entities himself and that it was his children who are linked to the entities in question. It added that the inclusion of Sharif’s name was the result of an editing mistake and that he was actually not named in the papers.
Our request for comment from the ICIJ was not returned.