A document of the Pandora Papers released on Monday night (Bangladesh time) revealed the names of eight Bangladeshis – suspected to have involvement in using financial secrecy havens to buy and sell property, hide assets away from tax and judicial authorities, make investments in companies or banking portfolios, and other purposes.
All eight of them own companies registered in the British Virgin Islands.
Pandora Papers was created by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) to expose the offshore secrets of wealthy elites.
A list, published in the first phase in October this year, included the name of Bangladeshi businessman Abdul Awal Mintoo.
The new list contains the names of 7.4 lakh individuals and organisations.
However, it cannot be said for certain that whoever is named in the Pandora Papers is involved in any illegal activity, even the journalists who leaked the document said so.
The eight Bangladeshis named on the list are Mohammad Bhai, Sakina Miraly, Nihad Kabir, Anita Rani Bhowmik, Islam Manzurul, Walter Pollak, Daniel Ernesto Iubatti, and Sayedul Huda Chowdhury.
Islam Manzurul reportedly owns Oriental Agricultural Chemical Company in the British Virgin Islands.
He used an address in Gulshan, Bangladesh, as well as a UK identity.
Among others, Sayedul Huda Chowdhury, Sakina Miraly, and Mohammad Bhai have cited Gulshan addresses while Anita Rani Bhowmik gave an address of Chawkbazar.
Sayedul Huda Chowdhury owns a company named Beben International, Anita Rani Bhowmik owns Enterprise Holdings Limited, Sakina Miraly owns Moon Wrecker Services Corporation, Mohammad Bhai owns 1936 Holdings Limited, Walter Pollak owns Flintt Enterprises SA, and Daniel Ernesto Iubatti owns Cudel Limited.
The Bangladeshis whose names were found in the Pandora Papers also have identities of other countries as well. The countries include the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, and Argentina.
All of them named in the Pandora Papers have been known for shaping the country's economy and politics.
Nearly 70 politicians and public officials from 20 countries and territories in Asia were found to have offshore entities in the Pandora Papers.
Earlier in October this year, a document of the Pandora papers published in the first phase, included the name of a Bangladeshi businessman Abdul Awal Mintoo along with a businessman from Nepal.
In the same month, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) submitted to the High Court a list of 43 individuals and organisations involved in money laundering that have appeared in the media following the Panama Papers leak.
The ACC list also included Abdul Awal Mintoo, a BNP vice-chairman and a former president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), five members of his family, and the controversial businessman Moosa Bin Shamsher.
Among the individuals and companies named in the latest phase of the Pandora Papers leak, 376 are from India, 74 from Pakistan, 14 from Sri Lanka and two are from Nepal.
The ICIJ says it has been publishing this information in the public interest. The ICIJ believes that providing these data to all for free helps shine a light on the damage perpetrated by the offshore economy.
The Pandora Papers are documents from 14 different offshore service providers based on 11.9 million records that were obtained by the ICIJ to expose the offshore secrets of wealthy elites.
It reveals the secret offshore holdings of more than 330 politicians and 130 billionaires, as well as celebrities and royals. The files also shed light on the financial dealings of fraudsters, drug dealers, fugitive cult leaders and corrupt sports officials.