Paradise Papers: Former Premier Shaukat Aziz amongst others hold off-shore companies

  • The latest in a series of leaks made public by the ICIJ shed light on the trillions of dollars that move through offshore tax havens, particularly in Bermuda
Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – The name of Former Pakistani Premier Shaukat Aziz, amongst other politicians from around the world, has so far emerged in the new database of documents, known as Paradise Papers, released by International Consortium of Journalists, on Sunday night.

The banker-turned-premier, Shaukat Aziz, was one of the shareholders and directors of Bahamas-registered Cititrust Limited from 1997 to 1999. It was before, Aziz started his career as a politician and was working for Citibank.

In 1999, former Premier was appointed Finance Minister. While serving as finance minister, Aziz established the ‘Antarctic Trust’ in the US, the Trust was constituted for the benefit of the settlor’s family. An address in New York was linked to the settlor.

According to the documents disclosed by ICIJ, Aziz’s wife Rukhsana Aziz, three children, Abid Aziz, Maha Aziz and Lubna Khan, and a granddaughter were named as beneficiaries.

 

Photo Credits: ICIJ

Aziz never mentioned the Trust in the financial disclosure statements submitted by him from 2003 to 2006, while he was serving as finance minister and prime minister.

In 2012, Appleby’s compliance officer noted that the former Prime Minister had been accused by the opposition of false declaration of assets, corruption, and misappropriation of funds. Aziz was marked as a high-risk client. In 2015,  when Pakistan’s top court issued three arrest warrants against Aziz, Antarctic Trust was closed and the related file was removed from one of law firm’s internal database.

The Paraside Papers is a global investigation into the offshore companies of the world’s most powerful and rich people. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and 95 media partners explored 13.4 million leaked files. The files were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

This latest leak includes nearly 7 million loan agreements, financial statements, emails, trust deeds and other paperwork from approximately 50 years at Appleby, a leading offshore law firm. The other big names being linked to the off-shore companies is Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, Queen Elizabeth II of England, Sons of Turkish Prime Minister, close allies of US President Donald Trump, close friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, close friends, and relatives of Syrian President Bashar ul Assad, famous pop singer Madonna and founders of E-bay and Microsoft.