After a year of political and legal wrangling in Pakistan over their Prime Minister’s business dealings in Panama as exposed by the “Panama Papers”, the verdict is in. Not guilty.
While we are quite sure PM Sharif is not innocent of using his office for personal financial gain since corruption runs rampant in most of these developing countries as part of their culture…this was probably the right verdict on charges related to his setting up of business and accounts offshore in Panama.
As we have been emphasizing in our publications regarding the Panama debacle, there is no crime in people of means holding and protecting their assets in tax-advantaged jurisdictions internationally. While it is understandable that high tax countries want to stop competition from low-tax countries and outlaw freedoms of people and companies to diversify their holdings from sitting in THEIR country…it is morally unjustifiable to prohibit anyone from moving their money anywhere in the world they see fit.
Whether PM Sharif if guilty of stealing funds from his own government or people, we don’t know. But in this case we think justice has been served as charges against him should not have been about Panama or Panama accounts. If he committed a crime, it was about money in his own country and the act of stealing it. The crime was not about where he put money. The charges should have been about where he GOT the money.
This international scrutiny and castigation of entities that move their assets globally needs to stop. The people who stole the Panama data need to be prosecuted. The enemy is not Panama. The criminals are not the lawyers or accountants in Panama. This case against PM Sharif should have nothing to do with Panama…and this is why the verdict came as it did.
Well done Pakistani courts…
These and many other issues are being addressed in “The Truth about the Panama Papers”.