Quick Edit | Throwing the phone book

Quick Edit | Throwing the phone book
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First Published: Tue, Aug 25 2009. 12 33 AM IST
Updated: Tue, Aug 25 2009. 12 33 AM IST
With Swiss banking giant UBS AG agreeing to hand over 4,450 names of Americans with offshore accounts to the US government, Indians were optimistic that they could get a handle on the black money stashed away in Switzerland. That may not happen.
An unnamed official at the Swiss Bankers Association told PTI on Sunday, “India cannot simply throw its telephone book at Switzerland and ask if any of these people have a bank account here.”
And throwing a telephone book may have been how Indian officials hoped to find tax evaders. Indians claiming that the US is receiving unfair privilege miss the point: The US government approached UBS with credible evidence that it was facilitating tax fraud. The Indian government hasn’t yet assembled an airtight case. And the US went after a specific bank—not Swiss banking generally.
India should consider passing clear legislation on the subject or build a credible case for access to Swiss accounts information. Otherwise, it should count that black money as history.
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First Published: Tue, Aug 25 2009. 12 33 AM IST