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Black money: Classified notings baffle investigators

June 19, 2013 09:52 IST

Black money: Classified notings baffle investigators

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"Client only wants to receive information by email not post or fax"; "Do not mail anything to this client, send all communication via email".

These are some of the classified notings that have baffled Indian tax investigators after a trove of hidden bank accounts in various tax haven nations was recently made public in a global expose on secret offshore accounts.

Instructions like these have been posted on a number of names and addresses that have a link to India, sources said, adding that this is a clever modus operandi to keep the identity of the stash holder under wraps.


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India has already approached over half a dozen foreign jurisdictions, including Singapore and some tax havens, for banking and other details of more than 500 individuals and entities who are suspected to have 'secret offshore accounts' at those places.

There is a variety in writing these instructional messages that the sleuths have found on suspected Indian entities.

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Image: A black market currency trader shows off US and Zimbabwean bank notes in the capital Harare.
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"Email client first before sending documents. No communication via mail, only via email. Correspond by email or call if address is required (to the account holder). Do not mail anything to this client, send all communication via email," are some of the similar instructions banking agents have coded on the account holders name and these are to be followed when the owner is to be intimated about activities in his or her accounts, sources said.

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Sleuths have already put the forensic laboratories of the Income Tax department and those belonging to the cyber security units to track down the identity of these account holders.

The "names and listed addresses" of as many as 505 India-linked entities, including businessmen and companies from the country, have been made public after a global expose on secret offshore accounts by US-based rights group, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

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The addresses of Indian entities and individuals, according to the ICIJ expose, have addresses of upmarket localities of account holders from Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Surat, Chandigarh and many other Indian cities and few other small locations.

After ICIJ's initial expose in April, Finance Minister P Chidambaram had said that an inquiry has been initiated against the individuals who have been named in this global report for having stashed money in secret offshore accounts.

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The body has, however, said that the featuring of these names necessarily does not mean that the entities have committed tax crimes.

"There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore

leaks database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly," the ICIJ said in its disclaimer posted on the portal. 


Image: A customer counts her money in Torrington, Connecticut, United States.
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