Karela Fry

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Are your ill-gotten billions safe?

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A few days ago the Hindu Business Line reported:

Mr Rudolf Elmer, the Swiss whistleblower who has handed the details of 2,000 secret bank accounts, allegedly containing the names of high net worth individuals from across Asia, the US and Europe, to Mr Julian Assange may now be in custody in Switzerland, but his legacy is likely to prompt others to follow his lead.

“More people will follow suit. There are employees in banks not just in the Cayman Island (where Mr Elmer had been based) who know that there employers are engaged in criminal activities and would like to leak high level information but haven’t been able to,” said Mr John Christensen, the director of Tax Justice Network, an international organisation devoted to research and analysis in the field of tax regulation, avoidance and evasion.

Today HT reports a related query from the Supreme Court to the Union government:

Expressing concern that the blackmoney stashed in banks abroad might have originated from arms deals, drug trafficking and smuggling, the Supreme Court today asked the government as to what action it had taken against individuals and firms having foreign accounts. A bench headed by Justice B Sudarshan Reddy directed the government to file its response by Thursday next.

The court also sought replies from the government, RBI and CVC on a petition seeking direction to the government to ratify UN convention on corruption which would facilitate in bringing back black money from foreign banks.

Asking the government not to restrict its probe only to the tax evasion aspect, the bench told the government to go after the sources of black money.

“We want to know what steps you have taken against the people who have accumulated so much money in foreign banks. What are the sources of the money,” the bench asked.

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