Action against any firm named in Panama Papers

PETALING JAYA: Tax authorities and financial regulators will move in on Malaysian-owned companies named in the Panama Papers data leak if there is any evidence they have committed tax evasion, says Deputy Finance Minister II Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani.

“If the Government has evidence of any Malaysian companies evading tax, they should be investigated regardless of whether they are locally or foreign incorporated companies.

“Tax evasion is an offence under Malaysian law,” Johari said when asked to comment on whether bodies including the Inland Revenue Board should initiate investigations following the spectacular leak.

His comments came as authorities in several countries, as part of efforts to trace offshore undeclared assets, said they would scrutinise their taxpayers named in the data documents leaked from a Panamanian law firm.

The Indonesian tax authority has been told by the country’s finance minister to study the data in the Panama Papers, Reuters reported yesterday.

The leak from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca involves over 11.5 million documents, nearly 215,000 companies and 14,153 clients of the firm. It was obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with other media outlets, including the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ).

The ICIJ on Monday reported that members of the Malaysian Government and their families were among those who owned offshore firms in Singapore and the British Virgin Islands.

Datuk Mohd Nazifuddin Najib, the Prime Minister’s son who was among those named in the leak, has explained that he was no longer involved in the two companies implicated.

There was no immediate reaction from the Inland Revenue Board over whether it would start investigations.

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