The leak is said to be one of the biggest ever and shows links to 72 current or former heads of state

More south Indian names tumble out of Panama Papers closet
news Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 15:35

Fourth days after The Indian Express expose, more names are tumbling out from the Panama Papers’ closet, including four more people from the five southern states.

So far, three people from south India had been linked to the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca. However, in the last two days, the expose by the Express added four more names to that list: Chinnamaruthu Shanmuga Sundarapandian, Vishlav Bahadur, Dinesh Parameswaran Nair, Prasanna Ghotge and Moturi Srinivas Prasad.

Read: From the South, TVS family's Mallika and K'taka minister's family feature in Panama papers

Among the 10 names revealed on Thursday, features Chinnamaruthu Shanmuga Sundarapandian, Dinesh Parameswaran Nair who are all residents of South India.

Chinnamaruthu Shanmuga Sundarapandian

A resident of a middle class Chennai locality, Sundarapandian is a director in two offshore companies called Panasia Star Ltd and Wir Fashion Holding Private Ltd. According to the Panama documents, his name as shareholder in the two companies was added in March 2015. 

Sundarapandian expressed ignorance about the two companies. He told Express: “I do not have any idea about these companies. It was my younger brother Deenathayala Pandian who added me as he didn’t want to have an outside partner. I was told that it is a Hong Kong-based company. He asked my permission, I agreed, I had given my passport number too for the purpose.”

However, IE reports that the papers had signatures of both the brothers, and that Sundarapandian had initially provided conflicting information about himself, saying he is an exporter of textile products but later said he works in a Singapore-based company which supplies electronic items.

Dinesh Parameswaran Nair

A resident of Ranni village in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district, IE reports that Dinesh is a son of a copra merchant. He left his village for Mumbai after finishing college and went to Hong Kong in 2008 but visits his wife and two children often.

Dinesh is listed as a director of a company called Geldin Trading Co. which was incorporated in the British Virgin Islands on August 17, 2007.

IE could not reach Dinesh after a relative declined to share Dinesh’s number and his wife refused to speak.

Moturi Srinivas Prasad

Hyderabad-based businessman Moturi Srinivas Prasad owns at least four offshore companies - De Ventures SA, Sika Securities Ltd, Bhasu Capitals Ltd and Bee Pee Investments Corp. registered in the BVI in 2011.

Prasad is mentioned as the MD of Nandan Cleantec and a co-owner of Sika Securities Ltd. He told IE: “These were ‘1-dollar’ companies that were started in the hope we may do some business but we did not do much. They were opened some time in 2005-06, I think. All companies are inactive now. There is no investment in them. We did not operate these companies so there was no question of declaring anything. As for the procedures and regulations, it was Volam Bhaskar Rao who was handling all that.”

Prasanna V Ghotage   

Bellary mining baron Prasanna V Ghotage and his wife Neha were joint shareholders of a company named Nordbell Commercial Ltd which was set up in 2007.

Ghotage’s PVG Group is known to have operated over 3,000 trucks to transport iron ore at the height of the iron ore boom in the Bellary district of Karnataka. He was also accused of cheating BEML of Rs 30 crore in 2012 but the Karnataka HC quashed the case.

He is currently in prison after a Goa police SIT chargesheeted him for failing to deliver iron ore to a Raipur company after taking an advance of Rs 17.5 lakh rupees. The Express could not reach his family could for a response.

Vishlav Bahadur

On the second day of the expose (Tuesday), Express reported that Vishlav Bahadur, a garment merchant and resident of Bengaluru, was a director in two offshore companies named Design & Quality Ltd, incorporated on December 4, 2008, and Trileon Limited registered in November 2007.

IE reported that while Trileon Limited was struck off the records in 2012, Design & Quality Limited is scheduled to be struck off registers on April 30, 2016.

He told IE, “The two foreign firms were established to facilitate letters of credit for export of clothing and other material from China to apparel factories in Europe. These firms were based in China, operated for around three years and have been shut down. We were sourcing material, and manufacturing and exporting from China and we needed letters of credit for payments to Chinese suppliers. In the end, it became too much of a hassle and a liability and we shut it down. All three of us have gone our separate ways. When the companies were in operation until three years ago, all norms were followed.”

Carried out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the investigation showed how law firm Mossack Fonseca helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax with offshore accounts.

The leak is said to be one of the biggest ever and shows links to 72 current or former heads of state in the data, including dictators accused of looting their own countries.

 

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