ICIJ releases Paradise Papers, exposes ex-PM Shaukat Aziz's offshore holdings

ICIJ releases Paradise Papers, exposes ex-PM Shaukat Aziz's offshore holdings

Islamabad (Web Desk): The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has released a database of around 13.4 million documents revealing over 25,000 companies owned by the world’s rich and influential individuals including several Pakistanis, former prime minister Shaukat Aziz also among them.

The ICIJ coordinated the Panama Papers investigation into offshore companies.

The latest files have disclosed the financial details of politicians, corporations, and celebrities among others.

The documents — obtained by a German newspaper from two companies in Singapore and Bermuda — have made public the data of over 25,000 companies owned by individuals from 180 countries, from 1950 to 2016.

The most prominent Pakistani name that emer­ged from the fresh leaks was that of Shaukat Aziz, the Musharraf-era finance minister who also remained prime minister from 2004 to 2007.

Mr Aziz worked for Citibank before entering politics and was “one of the shareholders and directors of the Bahamas-registered Cititrust Limited from 1997 to 1999, along with other executives of the bank”.

Former National Insurance Corporation Limited (NICL) chairperson Ayaz Khan Niazi has also been identified in the records in connection with four offshore holdings in the British Virgin Islands.

One of them was a trust, Andalusian Discretionary Trust, while the other three were set up as companies: Andalusian Establishment Limited, Andalusian Enterprises Limited and Andalusian Holdings Limited.

Queen Elizabeth II of England, Queen Noor of Jordan, former Canadian prime ministers Jean Chretien, Paul Martin and Brian Mulroney and pop stars Madonna and Bono of U2 are also named in the leak.