Promising action against people who have parked money illegally in foreign banks, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said owners of such accounts listed in the Panama Papers would be prosecuted.
“If illegal money is found in accounts of those who are named in the Panama case, they will also be prosecuted as in the case of HSBC accounts,” Jaitley said at an event organised to mark the second anniversary of the Narendra Modi government.
Panama Papers refer to the millions of leaked files of Mossack Fonseca, a law firm in Panama, that contain names of
several global politicians, businessmen, actors, sportspersons and other celebrities as those owning companies in the tax-haven. These papers were brought into the public domain through a global investigation by a network of journalists including those from The Indian Express.
Jaitley said the government had already initiated action against people who owned similar accounts in Liechtenstein and in HSBC bank, the two cases of black money that had been revealed earlier.
“Taxation authorities completed assessment and filed criminal cases against those who had stashed money illegally in Leichtenstein… We have also signed an agreement with Switzerland and got details of those people (who had illegal accounts in HSBC). We assessed Rs 6,000 crore black money which was in HSBC, Switzerland. And we have filed criminal cases against them,” he said.
The Finance Minister also said the government had last year enacted a law to deal with black money in foreign banks, and this measure had already yielded Rs 4,000 crore. The government was now focusing on domestic black money, he said. Owners of domestic black money will have a four-month window to disclose their illegal wealth and come clean by paying tax and penalty.
This compliance window will start on June 1, he said.