Dar directs FBR to collect info about persons mentioned in Panama, Bahamas leaks

ISLAMABAD, Oct 18 (APP): Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar Tuesday directed the FBR Chairman to approach nine tax havens through Ministry of Foreign Affairs for obtaining information about those who had been involved in Panama and Bahamas leaks.

He was chairing a meeting here to review the actions taken on Panama and Bahamas leaks by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Haroon Akhtar was also present in the meeting, a Finance Ministry press release said.

Besides Panama and Bahamas, the tax havens included British Virgin Islands, Seychelles, Niue, Samoa, Anguilla, Mauritius, and Jersey.

Ishaq Dar emphasized that due process of law must be followed while seeking additional information from foreign jurisdictions.

The FBR Chairman briefed the meeting about the notices issued to those whose names appeared in both the leaks and the response thereon.

The meeting was informed that there were total nine jurisdictions, 270 companies and 444 individuals involved in the Panama leaks.

Similarly, 150 Pakistani individuals were found in Bahamas leaks, out of which whereabouts of 110 were traced by the FBR, while in 40 cases addresses were being tracked, he added.

He apprised the meeting that Pakistan may have substantial economic stakes in jurisdictions which are considered as tax havens.

Notices under Section 176 of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 were issued earlier by the FBR wherein ownership of companies or entities at Panama etc, and details about their financial and tax matters were asked.

The FBR, he said, had received responses in 133 cases so far. The cross-matching of data of 155 individuals, who are directors of 600 companies in Pakistan, was carried out.

The FBR Chairman informed the minister that those who were not responding to the legal notices would be penalized through imposition of penalty.

The minister directed that the countries concerned be approached through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for seeking more evidence and information about bank accounts, business assets, investments, etc of those persons and entities named in the leaks.

The meeting was attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Finance, Federal Board of Revenue, State Bank of Pakistan and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.