Seychelles connection: Pandora Papers turn spotlight on former Army officer - The Tribune India

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Seychelles connection

Pandora Papers turn spotlight on former Army officer

Seychelles connection

Photo for representation only. - File photo



IT’S a cause for concern that the name of a former Director General of Military Intelligence, Lt Gen Rakesh Kumar Loomba (retd), who also served as the General Officer Commanding of 3 Corps, has cropped up in the Pandora Papers. According to an investigation held under the aegis of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the former Army officer incorporated an international business company shortly after the Panama Papers, released in 2016, highlighted secret global money flows. As per the documents accessed by a leading Indian daily partnering the consortium, Lt Gen Loomba (retd) registered Rarint Partners Ltd in the Seychelles along with his son in December 2016. A perusal of secret records of Aabol, an offshore service provider based in Mahe (Seychelles), reveals that Loomba’s firm had a linked bank account with Mauritius’ ABC Banking Corporation, where the father-son duo, as Directors of Rarint Partners Ltd, pegged the company’s ‘expected’ annual deposit/turnover at $1 million.

The retired officer’s son has claimed that the bank account with ABC was never opened as ‘we did not go ahead with our business plan’. He has cited ‘security reasons’ for skipping mention of the military credentials of Lt Gen Loomba (retd) while incorporating the business company. However, several questions remain unanswered. The choice of the offshore destination itself raises suspicion. The Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, is regarded as a tax haven in view of its ‘very favourable’ tax treatment of offshore companies. It’s only recently that the Seychelles committed to undergo a supplementary review of its tax system with the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, the top international body on tax evasion.

Even as a multi-agency group comprising the tax department, the Enforcement Directorate, RBI and the Financial Intelligence Unit will probe all Indian names on the Pandora list, the authorities should pay close attention to cases involving military personnel, bureaucrats and other officials. The probe team needs to find out whether any portion of the wealth accrued from kickbacks were ever laundered. 


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