In one of the biggest revelations that has tumbled out around 18 months after the Panama Papers, now comes the largest ever leak of financial data of off-shore accounts of politicians, sports persons, Bollywood stars though ‘Paradise Papers’. The details were leaked in 13.4 million documents that exposed tax abuses and also the seemingly artificial ways by which corporations have been protecting their wealth. According to reports, the leaked 13.4 million documents were obtained from the company registries of 19 tax havens and two off-shore service providers. The obtained documents came from German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and were shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with partners including the Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times.
Paradise Papers, the biggest financial leak so far has also linked Minister of State (MoS) Jayant Sinha. According to the documents leaked from Appleby, MoS Jayant Sinha served as the Director of D. Light Design. The leaked documents reveal that Jayant Sinha did not mention this in his declaration submitted to the Election Commission, while he was contesting for the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. Right before, Jayant Sinha was elected as Lok Sabha MP from Hazaribagh in Jharkhand, he worked as the managing director of Omidyar Network in India. According to reports by Indian Express, Omidyar Network invested in a US company D. Light Design which has a subsidiary in Cayman Islands in the Caribbean Sea.
As per the documents by offshore legal firm Appleby, D. Light Design Inc was founded in 2006 in San Francisco, California and has a subsidiary of the same name in Cayman Islands. Sinha joined Omidyar Network in September 2009 and resigned in December 2013.
The Paradise Papers documents leaked from Appleby also mentioned a loan agreement dated December 31, 2012, this also mentioned the investment by Omidyar Network in D.Light Design, which also took a loan of $ 3 million through its Cayman Islands subsidiary from an investor based in the Netherlands. The documents show MoS Jayant Sinha as the director of the firm when these transactions took place.
However, in his declaration to the PMO, on October 26, 2016, he said, “The declarant may be entitled to carried interest in certain investments made by Omidyar Network entities in the years 2009 to 2013. The value of the carried interest that may be received by the declarant (if any) is not capable of determination.” As per reports, he has also submitted a declartion on the same lines during the Lok Sabha polls in 2014.
Reacting to the claims, Jayant Sinha said that all these transactions have been fully disclosed to relevant authorities through all necessary filings as required. Taking to his twitter handle he further added that after leaving Omidyar Network, he was asked to continue on the D. Light Board as an Independent Director. But, on joining the Union Council of Ministers, he immediately resigned from the D. Light Board and severed my involvement with the company. He further cleared his stand by claiming that these transactions were done for D. Light as an Omidyar representative, and not for any personal purpose.
(Disclaimer: There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any people, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly. Many people and entities have the same or similar names. We suggest you confirm the identities of any individuals or entities located in the database based on addresses or other identifiable information.)