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Monday, April 27, 2009

ECONOMY-INDIA: Tax Haven Loot Turns Election Issue

General elections currently being contested in India have brought an unusual issue to the fore - the repatriation of more than a trillion dollars believed to have been stashed away in Swiss and other tax havens.

Leading the charge is the ultra-nationalist, opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which carried out mock election exercises to sensitise voters to its plank that the money, if returned, could be channelled into development activity.

Lal Krishna Advani, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, began demanding that the Indian government pursue the issue of ‘black money,’ well before the G20 summit in London earlier this month where pledges were made to devise a post-crisis economic plan to shore up the global financial system.

Following up on high-profile scandals involving Liechtenstein and Switzerland, the G20 nations demanded that tax havens dismantle the secretive structures that have allowed fake corporations, anonymous trusts, foundations and money laundering operations to flourish.

"We assure the nation that India will join the global effort to put an end to banking secrecy and intensify it by every means - diplomatic, political and economic - to get back the real sovereign wealth of our country," Advani has vowed.


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