‘Massive’ collections in Swiss black money probe

Income Tax Trail: 700 HSBC Geneva accounts under scanner.

Written by Ritu Sarin | New Delhi | Published:November 13, 2011 12:44 am

Investigations say they have already mopped up a “massive amount” — running into “hundreds of crores” — as unpaid taxes from among the 700 numbered bank accounts held by Indians in HSBC Bank in Geneva in the ongoing scrutiny of what is considered a sprawling black money trail.

In fact,Rs 40 crore has been recovered from Delhi-based account holders and Rs 60 crore from just one account holder in Chennai alone.

As reported first by The Indian Express (August 8,2011),it was in July that French authorities passed on details of these accounts to India.

Of the total list,70 account holders were based in Delhi and 18 of them were searched while six account holders volunteered to pay their tax dues.

To date,the HSBC Delhi list has yielded unpaid taxes to the tune of Rs 40 crore with account holders understood to have been holding between Rs 7 crore and Rs 40 crore in their accounts. Said a key official: “It is only in two cases that investigation showed taxes had been paid as per norms. Over 95% of the deposits can be described as black money. The case,we hope,will be a deterrent for others who are holding huge deposits in banks abroad.’’

Significantly,officials said that while only unpaid taxes have been collected so far,once the entire exercise is over,penal action and a possible routing of the banking details to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) will follow.

The information on the numbered accounts posed a challenge since in a third of the 700 cases,complete data was not available.

The information supplied is in the form of name of account holder; the beneficiary; the name of the person who opened the account; the passport number; the name of the banker; date of opening and closing the account and the balance (till year 2007,but not in all cases). There are no signatures of either the account holder or beneficiaries of the numbered accounts.

The I-T authorities,thus,decided to first search those account holders where all the details had come in from France. Communiques have also been sent to the HSBC Bank to furnish all transaction details for the 700 accounts but no response has been received as yet.

Sources said the bank has alerted all its account holders that their confidentiality clause had been violated on account of data theft by an ex-employee.

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