EXPLAINER: What are tax havens, offshore companies and data leaks?


More anxiety has cropped up among masses after the emergence of yet another leaks, Pandora Papers, exposing well over 11 million files that are linked to more than 330 politicians and public officials, including 35 current and former national leaders, in more than 91 countries and territories.

People wonder whether the money taken from them in the form of a myriad of taxes and duties is only amassed by governments and bureaucracies to afford themselves the luxuries in islands of Bahamas and for the flats and estates in the USA and the UK.

While this fear and anxiety is not outright implausible and truly, over $600 billion money that should land in the national exchequers worldwide ends up in the offshore companies and accounts, it has yet to be ascertained whether every one of the companies and people involved in them is immoral and corrupt?

To put it simplistically, any establishment of a company or a bank account outside of the country you live in means you engage yourself in offshore dealing. It can mean so many things but not all of them reek of crime or law violation. Not necessarily.

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However, more often than not, there’s more to hide than can be found and declared. Some argue there is always an unethical activity going on even without any reported/proved tax evasion or embezzlement but that’s another debate.

This begs the question: Why policymakers worldwide and in Pakistan design policies to curb the practice and discourage the flight of money wrongfully into the account of the wealthy that feed their riches off peoples’ trusts?

That’s partly because the very policymakers we expect this from, are involved in the malpractice themselves.

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