New Delhi: Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is going to attend the G-20 summit in London on April 2. Ahead of this meeting, I wish to bring a highly important matter to the attention of the people of India says Advani in a press statement.
It is well known that Swiss banks provide secrecy and safety for tax evaders, corrupt individuals and criminals of various nationalities to hoard their monies. Several offshore tax havens are also used for murky financial dealings. The extent of illicit money lodged in Swiss banks is mind-boggling. Estimates vary Advani said.
According to Wikipedia, they totaled $ 2.6 trillions (Rs. 130 lakh crores in today’s exchange rate) in 2001. In 2007, they were believed to be about $5.7 trillions (Rs. 285 lakh crore), a staggering 80% increase in six years.
It is equally well known that many wealthy Indians have deposited their illicit monies in secret Swiss bank accounts and tax havens elsewhere around the world. As per credible estimates, these amounts range between $500 billion (Rs. 25,00,000 crore) and $1400 billion (Rs. 70,00,000 crore).
So long as the West-dominated world economy was doing well for the western countries, their governments winked at the secretive functioning of Swiss banks and tax havens. However, the current global economic crisis, which put several of their important financial institutions on the verge of collapse, has forced them to take many unconventional steps to revive their ailing economies.
The leaders of France, Germany, UK and other countries have joined forces with the US President Barack Obama in the battle against tax havens. They are mounting pressure on Switzerland and offshore tax havens to put an end to banking secrecy to bring back their tax-evading citizens’ hidden wealth.
This is likely to be an important point on the agenda of the G-20 Summit in London. In February, UBS, the largest Swiss bank, was forced by the US tax authorities to reveal the names of some 300 presumed tax evaders. The US threatened to sue the UBS. Fearing that this could lead to the demise of the bank, the Swiss authorities invoked an emergency clause in their banking law and gave the data to the US. Soon thereafter the Obama administration announced a law to uncover illicit American money in all secretive tax havens, including the Switzerland.