Data to be made public on May 9
Islamabad—The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), who had earlier named Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif among those holding offshore companies has now retreated from the statement and removed his name from all news stories citing it an ‘editing error.’
In its earlier stories titled “Panama Papers The Power Players” and “Giant Leak of Offshore Financial Records Exposes Global Array of Crime and Corruption”, the ICIJ had declared that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif controls offshore companies.
ICIJ had declared that the name of Nawaz Sharif was included in the data quoting “The files exposed offshore companies controlled by the prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, the king of Saudi Arabia and the children of the president of Azerbaijan.”
Retreating from the statement, ICIJ has now issued a clarification which reads as “Due to an editing error, a sentence in an earlier version of this story implied that the prime minister of Pakistan controlled an offshore company that appeared in the Panama Papers. It is his children who control the offshore companies.”
The ICIJ website has now also clarified that “Hasan and Hussain Nawaz Sharif’s visualizations were updated on April 21, 2016.”
In a major breakthrough in Panama Papers case, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has announced it will reveal a “searchable database” with information on over 200,000 offshore entities, including names of over 200 Pakistanis, on May 9. The database which is likely to be the largest ever release of secret offshore companies and the people behind them, will become public on May 9, 2pm EDT, ICIJ reported.
The interactive database will also include information about more than 100,000 additional companies that were part of the 2013 ICIJ Offshore Leaks investigation.
While the database opens up a world that has never been revealed on such a massive scale, the application will not be a “data dump” of the original documents – it will be a careful release of basic corporate information, a statement on the website said.
While there is a possibility that names of more Pakistanis may or may not appear on the database, ICIJ stated, it “won’t release personal data en masse; the database will not include records of bank accounts and financial transactions, emails and other correspondence, passports and telephone numbers.”
“The selected and limited information is being published in the public interest,” the statement added.
Governments across the world mounted sweeping probes into allegations made as part of a massive leak of front companies being set up by a Panama-based firm on behalf of several prominent global personalities and leaders, many of whom denied any wrongdoing.
The leak, dubbed ‘Panama Papers’ and comprising some 11.5 million documents covering four decades from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, showed how some of the world’s most powerful people took their money offshore.
While several leaders, personalities and institutions, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, rejected allegations of wrongdoing, Iceland’s prime minister resigned earlier this month, becoming the first political victim of a mushrooming worldwide scandal over hidden offshore financial dealings exposed in the so-called Panama Papers.
Premier Nawaz on Friday said he would resign if any wrongdoing is proven against him before the commission formed to investigate offshore wealth in the wake of Panama Papers revelations. “I challenge those accusing me of wrongdoing to prove that before the commission and if anything is proved, I will step down without any delay,” Nawaz Sharif said while addressing the nation.