'Information on Black Money Remains Unused'

HSBC whistleblower claims millions of crores worth illicit funds flowing out of the country; seeks protection to spill the beans to Indian officials

NEW DELHI: HSBC whistleblower Herve Falciani on Monday claimed that India has not used information on those illegally stashing away black money in foreign bank accounts, and still millions of crores were flowing out.

Addressing a press conference through video networking site, Skype, Falciani, claimed that he was ready to cooperate with the Indian authorities if they needed his inputs.

Falciani is facing charges in Switzerland of leaking details of bank account holders in Geneva branch of HSBC - a list which later reached French government and subsequently was shared with India as it had accounts of those Indians who had stashed funds abroad.

“We are not here to talk about merely figures but about possible solutions,” Falciani said, adding that “lot of information that has not been used by the Indian authorities”.

He also claimed that “millions of crores worth illicit funds” are flowing out of India. He said would assist Indian authorities if they wanted, but he would need protection.  Earlier this year, he had hinted that he possessed additional information on the lines of the list of 628 Indian entities holding accounts with the bank in Geneva.

The Finance Ministry in February had said the IT department was already in touch with Falciani, “who apparently brought out the names of persons holding undisclosed bank accounts in HSBC, Switzerland.”

“He has been requested to share information available with him in respect of undisclosed bank accounts of Indians in HSBC, Switzerland, and other destinations. His response is awaited,”  the government had then said.

He claimed that he leaked information not in lieu of money.  “It is not about money. I don’t intend to become rich,” Falciani said when asked whether he is looking for money to share information with India. He stressed governments across the globe should ensure that whistleblowers are protected. “We need just simple protection,” he added.

“We are not protected... If I am coming to India, I will be arrested,” he said, adding that people need to understand that there are not many new ways to probe and combat the menace of black money.

He, however, did not give a clear answer on whether he has any more information on Indians who have stashed illicit funds abroad.

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The New Indian Express