Enforcement Directorate has summoned Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in connection to the 2016 Panama Papers global tax leaks case. The actress had been sent summons two times previously as well but failed to appear before the agency.
Aishwarya is being questioned under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) allegations and not for money laundering. ED has summoned her to appear before the Investigation Officer on Monday in Delhi.
What Is Panama Papers Leak Case
In the 2016 Panama Paper Leak Case, names of several prominent personalities were exposed. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was one among them. The records showed that Bachchans floated an offshore entity, Amic Partners Limited, in the British Virgin Islands in 2005.
Mossack Fonseca (MF), a Panamanian firm that helped set up offshore entities, had maintained the records related to Bachchans. These records allegedly showed that Aishwarya and her family were part of Amic Partners for at least three years.
As per the MF documents accessed by The Indian Express, Rai, her father Kotedadi Ramana Rai Krishna Rai, mother Vrinda Krishna Raj Rai, and brother Aditya Rai were appointed on May 14, 2005, as directors of Amic Partners – with an initial authorised capital of $50,000.
On June 18, 2005, Amic Board Resolution changed Rai’s status to shareholder.
“One of the shareholders requested to shorten her name from Ms. Ashwaria Rai (sic) to Ms. A Rai for reasons of confidentiality. The same was mutually agreed and consented by all directors and shareholders,” said internal instructions changed between the Mossack Fonseca staff on July 5, 2005.
In 2008, the year when Aishwarya got married to Abhishek Bachchan, the process to wind up the company was initiated.
As per the purported MF records, each share had a par value of $1 with the Certificate of Incumbency stating that the four directors had an identical holding of 12,500 shares each.
With the help of Dubai-based company BKR Adonis Kannan, Amic was acquired for $1,500, with $1,150 being the acquisition fee and $350 charged as the licence fee.
Amic Partners resolution dated May 12, 2005, shows Aishwarya and her father as the first directors. In all the documents available with Monssack Fonseca, all the address columns were left blank.
Amic was re-registered with a Certificate of Incumbency in 2007. It showed Aishwarya’s father and brother as directors and all four as shareholders. The documents showed that each shareholder has 12,500 shares each.
“What is this consortium (ICIJ) and what does it do? Is this an authorised entity and how do we know that the information they get is authentic? All information that you have is totally untrue and false,” media advisor to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Archana Sadanand had said.
As per the sources, over Rs 20,000 crore worth of undeclared assets have been detected by the Income Tax authorities in connection with the Panama Papers investigation.