The final batch of the Pandora Papers released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on Tuesday revealed the names of three more Bangladeshis who are suspected to have involvement in using financial secrecy havens to buy and sell property, hide assets away from tax and judicial authorities, and make investments in companies or banking portfolios and other purposes.
Two of them – S Hedayet Ullah and S Rumi Saifullah – invested in Transglobal Consulting in Hong Kong, and another – Shaheda Begum Shanti – invested in an off-shore company named Jas Limited.
According to the ICIJ, S Hedayet Ullah and S Rumi Saifullah are residents of a house on Northern Road in Baridhara DOHS in the capital and Shaheda Begum Shanti lives in the Shahjalal area of Sylhet.
The documents mention Northern Road in Baridhara DOHS as the address of S Hedayet Ullah and S Rumi Saifullah, but when The Business Standard correspondent visited the Baridhara DOHS on Thursday no one was able to provide any information about them.
Maj Gen (retd) Jiban Kanai Das, president of Baridhara DOHS Parishad, told TBS over telephone that he did not know the two men. If they are residents of the DOHS area, they can be found through a detailed search, but currently it is not possible as the DOHS Parishad's office is closed.
The first phase of Pandora Papers was published on 3 October last year and the second phase was published on 6 December. Eight Bangladeshis were named in the two batches.
The new batch contains leaked documents of more than 9,000 offshore companies, trusts and foundations.
However, it cannot be said for certain that whoever is named in the Pandora Papers is involved in any illegal activity, even the journalists who leaked the document said so.
The eight Bangladeshis named previously on the list are Mohammad Bhai, Sakina Miraly, Nihad Kabir, Anita Rani Bhowmik, Islam Manzurul, Walter Pollak, Daniel Ernesto Iubatti, and Sayedul Huda Chowdhury.
The ICIJ says it has been publishing this information in the public interest. The organisation believes that providing these data to all for free helps shine a light on the damage perpetrated by the offshore economy.
The Pandora Papers are documents from 14 different offshore service providers based on 11.9 million records that were obtained by the ICIJ to expose the offshore secrets of wealthy elites.
It reveals the secret offshore holdings of more than 330 politicians and 130 billionaires, as well as celebrities and royals. The files also shed light on the financial dealings of fraudsters, drug dealers, fugitive cult leaders and corrupt sports officials.