Panama Papers: No conclusion drawn whether offshore entities of Indians illegal, says RBI


Reserve Bank, which is looking into Panama Papers leaks among other agencies, on Friday said no conclusion can be drawn yet whether the offshore entities of Indians in Panama are illegal.

RBI Deputy Governor S S Mundra, however, said that some “unverified assumptions” from government indicate that entities of most of the Indians associated with the leaks were opened in Panama under RBI’s Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) as per norms.

“It will be premature to arrive at any conclusion on the Panama Papers issue at this stage. At this moment, it will be wrong to think that all entities of Indians opened in Panama are illegal or none of these entities is not illegal,” Mundra said.

He said the probe into the Panama Paper leaks concerning Indian nationals has just begun.

“The team will gather documents and investigate how black money was sent out of the country, if it is so, to set up entities in Panama,” the Deputy Governor said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of an event organised by Axis Bank.

“The prima facie unverified assumptions from government suggest that offshore entities of most of the Indians associated with the Panama Papers leaks were opened under RBI’s Liberalised Remittance Scheme as per norms.

“However, these assumptions are yet to be verified and probed with documents. Any conclusion can be drawn only after that,” he said.

Mundra said RBI is of the view that “transmission of the recent cut of 25 basis points in Repo Rate will take place effectively in banking sector”.

Axis Bank today unveiled its computer tablet-based app for its ‘Joint Liability Group Lending Programme’.

The government had announced setting up of the special multi-agency group to look into all cases of Indians setting up offshore entities in tax havens after The Indian Express published the first set of names as part of its ongoing investigation in The Panama Papers.

Released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) early this month, the Panama Papers contained names of nearly 500 Indians, including celebrities and industrialists, who allegedly had set up offshore entities in various tax havens.

The probe group comprises officials from RBI, I-T Department, Financial Intelligence Unit and Foreign Tax and Tax Research. It has been set up to determine the legality of the transactions following the leaked documents of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.