Pandora Papers: Shakira, Anil Ambani, Sachin Tendulkar, financial dealings of the global elite exposed

News Network
October 4, 2021

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Millions of leaked documents dubbed the Pandora Papers and a worldwide journalistic partnership on Sunday claims to have uncovered financial secrets of current and former world leaders, politicians and public officials in 91 countries and territories, including India.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which involved the BBC and The Guardian newspaper in the UK and ‘The Indian Express’ in India among 150 media outlets in its investigation, claims it obtained the trove of more than 11.9 million confidential files to find secret financial dealings of many super rich.

"People linked by the secret documents to offshore assets include India’s Reliance ADAG chief Anil Ambani, cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar, pop music diva Shakira, supermodel Claudia Schiffer and an Italian mobster known as ‘Lell the Fat One’,” says ICIJ in its report.

"Tendulkar’s attorney said the cricket player’s investment is legitimate and has been declared to tax authorities. Shakira’s attorney said the singer declared her companies, which the attorney said do not provide tax advantages. Schiffer’s representatives said the supermodel correctly pays her taxes in the UK, where she lives," it notes.

On a world map highlighting the number of politicians linked with offshore dealings, India is shown as having six and Pakistan seven.

"ICIJ’s latest investigation, the Pandora Papers, brings renewed attention to the use of offshore companies by Pakistani political players. This time, the offshore holdings of people close to (Prime Minister Imran) Khan are being disclosed, including his finance minister and a top financial backer,” the findings claim.

A spokesperson for Khan told a press conference that if any of his ministers or advisors had offshore companies, “they will have to be held accountable”.

According to the ICIJ, its secret documents expose offshore dealings of the likes of the King of Jordan, the presidents of Ukraine, Kenya and Ecuador, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The files also reveal financial activities of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “unofficial minister of propaganda” and more than 130 billionaires from Russia, the US, Turkey and other nations.

The ICIJ says the leaked records come from 14 offshore services firms from around the world that set up shell companies and other offshore nooks for clients often seeking to keep their financial activities in the shadows.

It says the global investigation provides an "unequalled perspective" on how the rule of law has been “bent and broken” around the world by a system of financial secrecy enabled by wealthy nations.

"The findings by ICIJ and its media partners spotlight how deeply secretive finance has infiltrated global politics – and offer insights into why governments and global organisations have made little headway in ending offshore financial abuses,” it notes.

The ICIJ analysis of the secret documents identified 956 companies in offshore havens tied to 336 high-level politicians and public officials, including country leaders, cabinet ministers, ambassadors and others.

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News Network
October 13,2021

Mangaluru, Oct 13: Social media platforms were flooded with shocking reactions after Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai indirectly defended the increasing cases of immoral rowdyism (also known as immoral policing or moral policing) in Mangaluru and other parts of coastal Karnataka.

Netizens started the #BommaiStopMoralPolicing campaign on social Twitter and Facebook in protest against CM’s indirectly endorsement to people taking law into their own hands. 

Speaking to reporters in Mangaluru, Bommai said that "some youth should make sure that sentiments are not hurt" and added that it was a "societal issue". Indirectly comparing interfaith affairs to immorality, he said that if the actions hurt sentiments then there will be reactions. 

Congress and JD(S) members opined that such statements embolden anti-social elements involved in such incidents and warned that tacit support to such activities could turn Karnataka into another cow-belt state.

Congress spokesperson Lavanya Ballal attacked Bommai for issuing a statement in support of moral policing. "When the CM of the state supports moral policing what more can be expected from the minions? Citizens of Karnataka please stay safe, don’t expect the government to keep you safe," she said in a tweet.

JD(S) IT wing head Prathap Kanagal said that Bommai's remarks reflected a "sad state of affairs". "With this justification by our Karnataka CM Bommai, they are normalising mob attacks in the name of Moral policing in Karnataka," he said.

Twitter user Glen D'Souza accused Bommai of turning Karnataka into another Uttar Pradesh. "Karnataka the land of Basava (is) known as 'Shantiya Thota'. Today under Bommai, Karnataka is rapidly is turning to be another Uttar Pradesh," he claimed.

Activist Vinay Sreenivasa echoed a similar sentiment. "Moral Policing always destroys fundamental rights of an individual. It is an act by primitive minds and fascist forces to further divide society and destroy harmony. Give back our old Karnataka," wrote another user.

Youth Congress leader Mohammed Haris Nalapad said that such careless statements raised questions on the safety of people, who look up to the government to safeguard their interests. "This rudderless Govt is only busy fanning the fire of hate incidents in Karnataka," he alleged.

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News Network
October 7,2021

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Abdulrazak Gurnah was awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature on Thursday “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.”

Last year's prize went to American poet Louise Glück for what the judges described as her “unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.” 
 
Glück was a popular choice after several years of controversy.

In 2018 the award was postponed after sex abuse allegations rocked the Swedish Academy, the secretive body that chooses the winners.

The awarding of the 2019 prize to Austrian writer Peter Handke caused protests because of his strong support for the Serbs during the 1990s Balkan wars.

The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (over $1.14 million). The prize money comes from a bequest left by the prize's creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895. 

On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize in physiology or medicine to Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries into how the human body perceives temperature and touch.

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News Network
October 5,2021

Chandigarh, Oct 5: Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Tuesday said he will meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the evening and will raise with him the Lakhimpur Kheri incident.

Channi, who along with some ministers and Congress legislators held a silent protest at Gandhi Smarak Bhawan here, said the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri reminds him of the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh tragedy.

Eight people died and several others were injured on Sunday in the bloodiest clash since the farmers' protest over the Centre's agri laws began last year.

Four of the dead were farmers, allegedly knocked down by vehicles driven by BJP workers travelling to welcome Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya to an event in the area.

The others were BJP workers and their driver who were allegedly pulled out of the vehicles and lynched. Two cars were set on fire.

Channi alleged that the “killing” of the farmers was “intentional”.

He said he will be meeting the Union home minister at 6.30 pm and will raise the issue of the Lakhimpur Kheri incident with him.

Slamming the BJP government at the Centre, he said it should not force the country's youth to look at martyrs like Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev and Shahid Udham Singh for again “restoring” democracy in the country.

Channi said the Lakhimpur Kheri incident was “painful” and demanded that the three controversial farm laws should be repealed immediately.

“The way an SUV mows down peaceful farmers from behind and kills them and all this which happened was intentional,” Channi alleged, apparently referring to a video clip purportedly showing an SUV mowing down farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri.

He alleged that a BJP leader had earlier told farmers that they would not be spared. “And then they (farmers) were killed intentionally. It was brutal.”

He said the incident reminded of the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy wherein General Dyer had ordered his troops to fire at peaceful civilians.

“Today, the same has been done with the farmers,” he added.

“It is necessary to recognise the voice of people. The governments in democracy should work according to the will of the people,” Channi said.

“Today farmers are upset and they are dying. Considering this, these (farm) laws should be repealed immediately,” he said.

He said incidents like in Lakhimpur Kheri should be stopped.

“(Narendra) Modi ji should stop his BJP people and the RSS. It will not work in the country,” he said.

On the issue of detention of Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Uttar Pradesh, Channi said, “This is too much. It is unacceptable.”

“Today, the blood of all the countrymen is boiling,” he said.

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