ED questions Aishwarya Rai in Panama Papers leaks case


Bollywood actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan on Monday joined the Enforcement Directorate investigation in the Panama Papers leak case. She reached the ED office here in the second half of the day following the agency’s notice. The agency needs to record the statement of the 48-year-old actress in the case over allegations of stashing wealth abroad under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999. The actress had earlier submitted records on the foreign payments under investigation.

The ED had issued notices to the Bachchan family asking them to explain their foreign remittances since 2004 under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) of the Reserve Bank of India.

Sources in the agency said that Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was summoned earlier too but she could not appear and sought next dates at least two times. The Panama Papers pertain to leaked documents that point towards fraud and tax evasion by many individuals and corporate entities across the world. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s name featured in the list of 500 Indians who were named in the massive leak of 11.5 million tax documents exposing their secret offshore dealings.

“The Panama Papers” case is a sprawling investigation spanning millions of documents stolen and leaked to the media in 2016, which involves allegations that the world’s rich and powerful set up offshore accounts or shell companies to avoid taxes.

Over 300 Indians were said to be part of the Panama Papers. Many Indian celebrities including Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai were named in this paper leak. All these people were accused of tax fraud. After his name surfaced in this case, Amitabh had said that he has sent money abroad only under Indian rules. He also denied having any affiliation with the companies that appeared in the Panama Papers.

Dubbed “Panama Papers”, an investigation of a stockpile of records from Panamanian legal firm Mossack Fonseca by the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in 2016 had named several world leaders and celebrities who allegedly stashed away money abroad in offshore companies. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, married to Amitabh Bachchan’s actor son Abhishek, was alleged by the ICIJ to have links with an offshore entity in the British Virgin Islands that was created in 2005. Her family was also stated to be part of this offshore entity that had an “initial authorised capital of USD 50,000”. The company was reportedly dissolved in 2008. Abhishek Bachchan has also been examined by the ED in the past in another instance linked to the offshore leaks case, sources said.