Aug 7, 2011: The Sunday Express reports that the government in June 2011 received a list of 700-odd bank accounts in HSBC Private Bank, Geneva, from French authorities, and investigations were under way to determine if any of the holders had evaded tax.
Dec 17, 2011: The Sunday Express reveals that the I-T probe found that in most of the 700-odd cases, the account-holders had not revealed the accounts in their returns, and that government planned to move against HSBC.
Apr 4, 2013: An ICIJ investigation, in which The Indian Express partnered, reveals 612 Indian entities among 1.2 lakh that had invested in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands, Samoa, etc. In the list are two MPs and many businessmen.
Oct 23, 2014: A week after the Swiss announced they would assist in checking details of the accounts, The Indian Express reports that a first batch of 50 names is set to be sent to Switzerland for authentication.
Oct 25, 2014: The Indian Express reveals the HSBC ‘India list’ contains 628 names, about a fifth of whom had paid, or were in the process of paying, penalties for concealing income. The largest sums, in two accounts, were $ 18 million each.
SC & SIT
2009: Ram Jethmalani files petition seeking an investigation into, and return to India of, Rs 70 lakh crore stashed illegally abroad.
2011: SC orders that a Special Investigation Team be set up to probe the names, released by Germany, with accounts in Liechtenstein banks. The Centre repeatedly seeks modification of the order.
2014: In one of its first decisions, Narendra Modi cabinet sets up SIT led by Justices M B Shah and Arijit Pasayat. The SIT has so far submitted three interim reports.
The bank and the govt
Standards were lower, admits HSBC
London: HSBC admitted Monday there have been lapses in the past on its part. “We acknowledge that the compliance culture and standards of due diligence in HSBC’s Swiss private bank, as well as the industry in general, were significantly lower than they are today,” HSBC said. “The bank has taken significant steps over the past several years to implement reforms and exit clients who did not meet strict new HSBC standards, including those where we had concerns in relation to tax compliance,” it added. (PTI)
Stolen data, but govT committed, asserts Switzerland
New Delhi, Berne: Switzerland said the new Indian names in the HSBC list are from “stolen data” — an assertion that might make it difficult for India to get details on these accounts without extra evidence. Switzerland, however, said it is “strongly committed” to fighting against black money following a change in policy a few years ago. “The published information is based on the known list with stolen data of the years 2007 and earlier,” a government spokesperson said from Berne. (PTI)