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Black money: 1,195 Indians in new Swiss HSBC list

hsbcNEW DELHI: The BJP-led government, that refused to make public names of black money holders on the leaked list of HSBC Bank’s Swiss branch saying this would violate international treaties, faced a lot of flak from the Opposition Monday after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released the names of the top 100 tax evaders on it.

The names out Monday include top corporate leaders, diamond merchants and politicians.

There are 1,195 Indian names in the fresh HSBC list, with a total balance of US$4.1 billion (Rs 25,420 crores) till 2007. This is nearly double the 628 names that had figured in an earlier list shared by France with India in 2011.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley said just names were of no use, unless accompanied by independent evidence.

Jaitley noted the tax authorities had launched 60 prosecutions from the earlier list of Indian account holders in a Swiss branch of HSBC, and that most names in the new list were known to the government.

He said investigations would be taken up in all new cases expeditiously. “The question is not about names, but the evidence that we need,” said Jaitley.

The Special Investigation Team on black money decided to widen its probe as new names emerged, but made it clear legal action will be taken only after verifying facts.

“The scope of investigation will definitely be widened… We will have to identify the names and scrutinise them,” said Justice M.B. Shah (Retired), SIT chief.

HSBC, meanwhile, said in a statement Monday that there were some “lapses” in its Swiss operations, and claimed it was cooperating with the authorities. – From The Asian Age

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