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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Bangladeshis in Panama Papers

Update : 12 May 2016, 07:25 PM
At least 24 individuals, five entities and around 20 addresses linked to Bangladesh were found in the new Panama Papers database released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Details on more than 200,000 offshore accounts has come online and is accessible at offshoreleaks.icij.org. One of the entities mentioned in the list is Bangladesh Biman Inc. Although the flag carrier of Bangladesh is currently named Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd, its previous official name was Biman Bangladesh Corporation. Despite repeated attempts to get comments, acting managing director and CEO of Biman, M Asaduzzaman, did not pick up his phone. But a former managing director of Biman, on condition of anonymity, told the Dhaka Tribune that it was possible that Biman had used offshore accounts to procure equipments from abroad. Whenever a large equipment purchase needed to be made the money was often moved through a third party, a procedure which he claimed was common practice among different private airlines. According to the online database, the offshore account for Biman is registered in Samoa and its intermediary was Hong Kong-based Orion House Services Limited. It also lists two shareholders – Mossfon Subscribers Ltd and a Chinese national named Chen Xiaoming. It should be pointed out that there are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. The inclusion of an entity or person's name in the Panama Papers does not mean they have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly. Although not illegal, the function of most offshore companies is often to avoid tax payments by concealing the identity of the owners and the origin of the money. The other Bangladesh-linked entities listed in the Panama Papers are: Islamic Solidarity Shipping Company Bangladesh Inc, Bangladesh Textile Agencies Ltd, Swayne Investments Ltd and Seven Seas Assets Ltd. The new database also lists 20 addresses across Bangladesh; although most of the addresses are in Dhaka city. Under the umbrella of the ICIJ, journalists from 107 media organisations in 80 countries analysed the leaked documents belonging to Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca. The source of the leak is simply known as "John Doe".ACC to go through new namesThe Anti-Corruption Commission in Bangladesh says it would analyse the new names that have been revealed. Talking to reporters, ACC Secretary Abu Md Mostafa Kamal yesterday said a “logical decision” would be made after going through the data. The commission would wait for its chairman to return from a foreign trip before it makes a move on this important issue, he added. The ACC has already formed a three-member committee to investigate individuals whose names have been linked with the Panama Papers.
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