At least 55 Nepalis have invested in offshore companies, taking advantage of secretive tax regimes and breaching Nepal’s law which bars investment in foreign countries, revealed an investigation carried out by the Centre for Investigative Journalism.
The report Nepal-leaks 2019: Illegal Wealth watch,’ based on an analysis of over 3,000 financial and court documents and interviews with dozens of individuals, said the report which was published Wednesday night.
Questions have been raised about the source of their investment since they have invested in offshore companies including lesser known British Virgin Islands , says the report.
THose who invested money in foreign countries include professors, doctors, industrialists, politicians etc. disregarding Nepali law that restricts overseas investment, says the report.
The investors include renowned businessmen and industrialists UpendraMahato, Chandra Dhakal, RajendraBajgai, Minu Shah Chhibar etc.
Majority of the investments were made in businesses registered in the British Virgin Islands, one of the most notorious tax havens in the Caribbean. The report also revealed how a lot of these investors used their offshore companies to funnel money back into the country under the guise of Foreign Direct Investment.
According to the report Nepalis have parked Rs 35.8 billion in Swiss banks, violating the country’s law, which bars Nepalis from transferring funds abroad. Nepali account-holders have earned interest of around Rs 774.1 million from the funds they deposited in Swiss banks. Interestingly, the Nepalese started depositing money in the Swiss Bank since 1996, when the decade long Maoist insurgency began. The total amount of money deposited by Nepalis in Swiss Bank amounts to 460.8 million Swiss Franc equivalent to Rs 52 billion till today. Even now, Nepalese have Rs 35.8 billion in the Swiss Bank, adds the report.
Between 1996—when the Maoist insurgency started—and 2006—when the peace agreement was signed—the amount of money deposited by Nepalis in Swiss banks more than doubled from 1.2 billion rupees to 2.7 billion rupees.
The report has named Minu Shah as the individual with the highest savings among Nepali account holders. Shah, who was married to an Indian national, made deposit of USD 23 million equivalent to Rs.2.62 billion in the Swiss Bank account.