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Black money in Europe: Tehelka reveals 16 names

Last updated on: February 4, 2011 19:40 IST

Black money in Europe: Tehelka reveals 16 names

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Even as the hullabaloo over black money stashed in foreign bank accounts continues, the weekly magazine Tehelka claims to have unearthed a list of Indians who deposited their wealth in a European bank.

Tehelka magazine said two years ago the German government had passed on the names and bank account details of 18 Indians who had invested their wealth in the LGT bank in Liechtenstein, a well-known tax haven.

The magazine claims to have possession of 16 of the 18 names on the list, which the Manmohan Singh government chose not to make public.

With the list out in the open, an already embattled government will now have to face a fresh round of fire from the Opposition.

The Opposition, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, has been vociferously demanding over the last few months for the names to be made public.

The Tehelka List

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Photographs: Reuters
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Black money in Europe: Tehelka reveals 16 names

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On Januray 25, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had said that the Indian government had nothing to hide, but the names (of those who have stashed black money abroad) "cannot be revealed as it violates international law".

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, while outlining the government's strategy to tackle the menace of black money and on the stashing of illicit wealth overseas, the finance minister had said that there are no reliable estimates of black money generated by Indians within and outside the country, but it is roughly estimated at being between Rs 500 billion and Rs 1,400 billion.

He said that the various estimates of black money are only unverifiable assumptions and approximations.

"No information can be made available from any other sovereign government unless there is a legal framework. We are not hiding behind the double taxation avoidance pacts," said the finance minister.

The finance minister dismissed the criticism that it was not disclosing information because such disclosure could result in the government's fall.

Asserting that the government was "not afraid of the danger to the coalition in not disclosing the names of black money holders abroad," Mukherjee asserted: "We will complete our full term."

The Supreme Court had earlier slammed the government again over the issue of illicit wealth parked in foreign banks, asking it to file a report on the action taken by it against people and firms that have stashed black money in tax havens abroad.

Expressing concern that the black money stashed in banks abroad might have originated from arms deals, drug trafficking and smuggling, the Supreme Court asked the government as to what action it had taken against individuals and firms having foreign accounts.


Photographs: Reuters
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