The ED recorded Rai’s statement in Delhi on allegations that she stashed wealth abroad in a company based in the British Virgin Islands, according to the publication’s sources.
The Indian Express reports that the 48-year-old actor was questioned over FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) allegations and not money laundering. Rai was summoned twice before and had reportedly sought more time.
The ED began the investigation on the foreign exchange violations reported in the Panama Papers in 2017.
As part of a massive global investigation, the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) shared close to 12 million leaked documents – termed the Panama Papers – with a host of media partners, including The Guardian, BBC Panorama, and The Washington Post. The papers included financial records of politicians, industrialists, and celebrities worldwide and revealed hidden wealth, tax evasion, and in some cases, money laundering.
The Bachchan family is one of many who have been summoned and issued notices by the ED since the very beginning. Previously, the ED had issued notices to Rai and her father-in-law actor Amitabh Bachchan in September 2017.
As per The Indian Express, which conducted the Indian portion of the investigations, the papers in connection to the Bachchan family were part of records maintained by a Panamanian firm named Mossack Fonseca (MF), which helped set up offshore entities. According to these documents, Rai and her family were part of the offshore entity, Amic Partners Limited, in the British Virgin Islands for at least three years.
The documents also revealed that Rai, her parents (late) Kotedadi Ramana Rai Krishna Rai and Vrinda Krishna Raj Rai, and brother Aditya Rai were all appointed as directors of Amic Partners in May 2005. Later that June, the company’s board changed the actor’s status to shareholder.
According to the records, the process to wind up the company was initiated in 2008, the year Rai got married to Abhishek Bachchan.
As per the Indian Express report, over Rs 20,000 crore worth of undeclared assets have been detected by the Income Tax authorities in connection with the case.
In October 2021, the ICIJ published another close to 12 million leaked documents, dubbed the Pandora Papers, exposing the secret offshore accounts of many world leaders and celebrities. Actor Jackie Shroff’s name appeared in these as the prime beneficiary of a trust set up in New Zealand by his wife’s mother.
Among the other Indian citizens who are part of the Pandora Papers list are businesspersons Anil Ambani and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, as well as cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.