Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is questioned by the Directorate of Execution as part of its investigation into the The Panama Papers exhibit, which showed that several prominent figures in India had launched companies in tax havens.
Rai was subpoenaed to appear before the investigator in Delhi on Monday. Sources said she was being questioned about Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) allegations, not money laundering.
Rai was one of the several eminent personalities named in The Indian Express-ICIJ 2016 Panama Papers exhibits. The ED’s summons is the first indication that the agencies are actively pursuing the case against the Bachchans who, the records indicate, launched an offshore entity, Amic Partners Limited, in the British Virgin Islands in 2005.
Senior officials told The Indian Express that Rai, 48, had been summoned twice previously, but asked for more time.
The papers concerning the Bachchans were among the records kept by Mossack Fonseca (MF), a Panamanian company that helped set up offshore entities. These showed that for at least three years, Rai and his family were part of Amic Partners.
The Indian Express accessed Documents from MF which showed that Rai, his father Kotedadi Ramana Rai Krishna Rai, his mother Vrinda Krishna Raj Rai and his brother Aditya Rai were appointed on May 14, 2005, as directors of Amic Partners – with initial authorized capital of $ 50,000.
On June 18, 2005, a resolution of the Board of Directors of Amic changed Rai’s status to a shareholder. And on July 5, 2005, internal instructions exchanged between MF staff stated: âOne of the shareholders requested that her name be shortened from Ms. Ashwaria Rai (sic) to Ms. A Rai for confidentiality reasons. The same has been mutually agreed and agreed to by all directors and shareholders. “
In 2008, a year after Rai married Abhishekh Bachchan, the process of liquidating the company was started, showing records.
MF records show that when the company was formed, each share had a par value of $ 1 with the certificate of service showing that the four directors held identical holdings of 12,500 shares each.
Correspondence from the MF office in Dubai shows that Amic was acquired for $ 1,500, $ 1,150 being the acquisition fee and $ 350 being billed as the license fee. The agent used was a Dubai-based company, BKR Adonis Kannan. Amic’s subscriber resolution – dated May 12, 2005 – shows Rai and his father as the âfirst administratorsâ. In all of the MF documents related to Amic, the address columns were left blank.
In 2007, Amic was re-registered with a certificate of service, dated April 10, showing only Rai’s father and brother as directors and all four as shareholders. Once again, each stakeholder, including Rai, held 12,500 shares each. In 2008, the company was dissolved.
Archana Sadanand, Aishwarya Rai’s media advisor, said at the time: âWhat is this consortium (ICIJ) and what is it doing? Is this an authorized entity and how do we know the information they get is genuine? All the information you have is totally wrong and wrong.
The ED has been investigating the Panama Papers affair since the publication of the briefing in 2016. As reported by The Indian Express, more than 20,000 crore of undeclared assets have been detected by tax authorities in connection with the investigation into the Panama Papers.