Explained: What’s new, why it’s important

There are 1,688 Indian HSBC “clients” in the list, based on nationality, place of birth, addresses and location/issuing country for ID.

Written by Ritu Sarin | Updated: February 9, 2015 5:30 pm
black money, black money list,  account holders black money, swiss account list, black money probe,  swissleaks, black money, swiss bank account, HSBC black Money, Switzerland bank, name of swiss account holders, swiss bank account, indian swiss bank, HSBC india black Money An Indian Express Investigation in collaboration with Le Monde and International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

What’s this list? Why is it called Swiss Leaks?

This is a list of over 100,000 HSBC “clients” worldwide, each name with details of the account in Geneva, and the balance in that account as of 2006-07. They come from 203 countries and the total balance is $102.05 billion.


How many are from India?

There are 1,688 Indian “clients” in the list, based on nationality, place of birth, addresses and location/issuing country for ID. After a three-month-long investigation, The Indian Express whittled this down to 1,195 (some were duplicates, some belonged to those who moved to Pakistan after Independence, etc).

Who received this list? From where?

The list was obtained by journalists of Paris-based newspaper Le Monde who got it from sources in the French government. Because the list had names from across the world, Le Monde partnered with Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists which, in turn, signed agreements with over 140 journalists from news organisations in 45 countries. In India, with The Indian Express. Other organisations include The Guardian, UK; Haaretz, Israel; BBC, London. The global date of publication, February 9, was decided weeks in advance by the consortium.

What was the role of The Indian Express?

Over three months, The Indian Express team of reporters, led by Executive Editor (News and Investigation) Ritu Sarin — who is a member of the ICIJ and was also the first to break the news of the original HSBC list (now in the Supreme Court) — scrutinised hundreds of entries. Reporters across the national network checked addresses and details in Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, among other cities.

Does the list of Indians include those names already with the Indian government as part of the HSBC list in the Supreme Court?

Yes. The French authorities gave India 628 names in 2011 and these figure in the new Le Monde-ICIJ list, too. Also, several of the account-holders contacted by The Indian Express have admitted to being contacted by Indian tax authorities.

Are all these accounts “black”, undeclared to Indian tax authorities?

Unlikely, because this list may include legitimate account-holders who had taken permission and have declared the accounts, as well as holders of undeclared accounts who currently have to pay taxes and penalty, even face prosecution.

How much tax has been collected so far on these HSBC accounts?

Until last month, Indian tax authorities have calculated, Rs 3,150 crore lying in these accounts had been brought to tax.

On what basis are these names being revealed given that the Indian government has said that doing so breaks the tax agreement and may hinder cooperation?

This is an international collaborative investigative project at a time when undeclared wealth is an important part of political discourse, involving the government, the Supreme Court and the central bank. The Indian Express has done its best to contact as many of the persons, in whose names the accounts are held, as it can and is reproducing their comments.


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  1. P
    Feb 9, 2015 at 10:02 am
    Love you Indian Express You service your nation
    1. S
      Surya Rao
      Feb 9, 2015 at 1:11 pm
      Please understand, this list was given by the Swiss voluntarily. This list was not acquired thro Investigative Journalism. This list was given to a team of International Journalists operating under a common umbrella. This list was given only after the Swiss were satisfied that, Indian Govt is investigating these names under proper Indian Laws and treaties signed with the Swiss. This list was conve to the Indian Express only after the go ahead signal given by the Indian Govt. Otherwise, how will the Swiss convey a list which they have been blackmailing the Indian Govt all along, that, if they reveal without following the terms of the treaty signed they shall stop co-operating?
    2. A
      adesh jain
      Feb 9, 2015 at 10:00 pm
      Keep it up
      1. A
        Abhilash kumar
        Feb 9, 2015 at 7:20 am
        Investigative journalism. .well done team Indian express, ,💪💪💪👍👍👏👏
        1. A
          Aman Khetarpal
          Feb 9, 2015 at 12:50 pm
          Great story. Good work. Keep it up! Thumbs Up!!!
          1. A
            Anita Kishore
            Feb 9, 2015 at 2:39 pm
            Hard work done by Ritu Sarin and team a service to the nation.Very courageous Indian Express!
          2. A
            Atanu Mondal
            Feb 9, 2015 at 10:14 am
            Should have been made public before 7th Feb. Anyway thanks for showing courage.
          3. P
            Feb 9, 2015 at 2:24 pm
            Hats off to Ritu Sarin and her team for the exposure. Tiis most of this black money that is used to fund elections in India. This is precisely the reason as to why BJP and Congress along with Samajwadi Party,JD(U), NCP, BJD etc do not disclose their donors and nor do they want their accounts to be audited by the CAG. Take Delhi elections. BJP led by Arun Jaitley(the main stategist for Delhi) cried himself se about the two crores donation AAP received by cheque. This same man however does not want to talk about the Rs 3300 crores of election funding received in cash and does not want to name the donors. We must question as to why. Is it because all the money received by BJP for the National Elections as well as all the State elections including Delhi was financed by this list of people with their black money from HSBC accounts. Is this the reason that BJP does not want to declare names. Where did all the cash come from. Was income declared and tax paid on it. Or is this a quid pro quo and we will see no prosecution of the holders of illegal accounts overseas. As it is the perpetrators of this illegal chanelling of black money over seas is the HSBC in India. Kejriwal and the AAP have asked for an investigation but the BJP do not obviously want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs(In this case black eggs) Right or wrong this however is the common man's perception like me. Arun Jaitley must seriously realize and introspect on this seriously. BJP can fool some people some times but you cannot fool all the people all the times. Delhi results will prove my point tomorrow.
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