Finance Minister chaired a meeting here yesterday to review the actions taken on the Panama and the Bahamas leaks by the Federal Board of Revenue, State Bank of Pakistan and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. Haroon Akhtar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue was also present on the occasion. Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar directed Chairman FBR to approach 9 tax havens through Ministry of Foreign Affairs for obtaining information on those involved in the Panama and the Bahamas Leaks.
Besides Panama and the Bahamas, these tax havens include British Virgin Islands, Seychelles, Niue, Samoa, Anguilla, Mauritius, and Jersey. He emphasised that due process of law must be followed while seeking additional information from foreign jurisdictions. The Chairman FBR 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 are a total of 9 jurisdictions, 270 companies and 444 individuals involved in the Panama Leaks. Similarly, 150 Pakistani individuals were found in the Bahamas Leaks, out of which whereabouts of 110 were traced by the FBR, while in 40 cases addresses are still being tracked. 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 FBR wherein ownership of companies/entities at Panama etc, and details about their financial and tax matters were asked. FBR has 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 Chairman FBR informed the Minister that those who are not responding to legal notices will be penalised through imposition of penalties. The Finance 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.