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‘Never been tax resident in Pakistan’: Ali Dar clarifies after Pandora Papers revelation

Ali Dar has issued a statement after Pandora Papers revelation. Source: Twitter.

LONDON: Ali Dar, the son of PML-N’s leader and former finance minister Ishaq Dar, has issued a statement after his name was revealed in the ‘Pandora Papers’ for owning offshore companies.

In a statement on Twitter, Ali Dar said he had sent his reply to senior journalist Umar Cheema, who was part of the investigative team of Pandora Papers. “When Umar Cheema had sent me an email in relation to the Pandora Papers investigation, I had replied with a detailed account of companies”

“These are completely legal and were made for legal purposes. I have settled in the UAE since graduation and have been running my legitimate businesses,” he wrote.

Ali Dar said he has never been a ‘tax resident’ in Pakistan nor been involved in any professional, employment or business activities. He said he was settled in the UAE ever since he graduated in the United Kingdom.

“I have been settled in the UAE where there has never been any taxation,” he said, “so there was no question of any tax haven.” He added there has never been any need for a “secrecy haven” as his businesses are bonafide with complete disclosure to UAE authorities.

He said the two offshore companies registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) were “done solely for the purpose of ease of registration, lowest corporate incorporation fee and annual renewal charges.”

“Therefore, I am pleased to confirm that both companies were incorporated for legal purposes, and always acted accordingly, and were in no way meant for, or ever engaged in, money laundering, tax evasion or any other illicit activities.”

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has said that the Pandora Papers have exposed more layers of corruption of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and ex-president Asif Ali Zardari.

He said that Ali Dar, son-in-law of Nawaz Sharif and son of Ishaq Dar, and that PPP leader Sharjeel Inam Memon had no status of their own and “were the custodians of Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari’s ill-gotten money.” Fawad said the nation first saw their real faces exposed in the Panama Papers and now again in the Pandora Papers.

The remarks came shortly after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released its new investigation into international finance and tax havens titled “Pandora Paper”.

Nearly 700 Pakistanis have been named in the report including Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Punjab minister Aleem Khan, PTI Senator Faisal Vawda, and PML-Q leader  Monis Elahi. Several retired government officials, former and incumbent bureaucrats, and businessmen are also mentioned in the report.

The ICIJ’s major investigation titled: “The Pandora Papers”, is said to be the result of 600 journalists in 117 countries studying for months roughly 11.9 million documents that leaked from the offshore environment.