The company logo of Mossack Fonseca is seen inside the office of Mossack Fonseca and Company (Asia) Limited in Hong Kong. Picture: Bobby Yip
The company logo of Mossack Fonseca is seen inside the office of Mossack Fonseca and Company (Asia) Limited in Hong Kong. Picture: Bobby Yip

1 700 South Africans named in Panama Papers

By Emsie Ferreira Time of article published May 25, 2016

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Parliament - The South African Revenue Service has identified roughly 1 700 local citizens whose names appear in the offshore records contained in the Panama Papers.

This is according to a senior SARS official, who was addressing a sitting of three parliamentary portfolio committees on Wednesday.

Vlok Symington, the executive of the revenue service's product oversight, legal and policy division, said its investigators had in the past fortnight further been able to match 79 out of 560 offshore companies listed in the leaked records to SARS data and to link 81 South Africans to them.

“So we know there are 560 of them, we have been able to match so far 79 of them - this is ongoing so as we go along this number will grow - and we have been able to link 81 SA residents with those 79 offshore companies.”

Read also: Panama Papers now searchable

Symington said the roles these South African residents played varied from shareholder to beneficiary to director, and, so far, it appeared that 56 served as intermediaries in setting up off-shore holdings.

SARS has been studying a searchable databank of financial information from the Panama Papers since it was released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists earlier this month.

The leak of millions of files linked to Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based legal firm involved in setting up offshore entities, brought to light decades of details on the shareholders of some 214 000 shell companies.

Symington said SARS had set up a unit to process the information in what was bound to be a lengthy investigation.

Read also: Man who leaked #PanamaPapers speaks

A SARS presentation statement to MPs stated: “In short, the data available to SARS with respect to the Panama Papers is a useful starting point to further enquiry but will require substantial follow-up work.”

AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY

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