Only about a fifth of the individuals or entities named in the so-called HSBC black money list on India of alleged foreign account holders have acknowledged their ownership of the accounts. These individuals or entities — 136 in number — have either paid, or are in the process of paying, penalties for concealing incomes.
The HSBC black money list contains names and holdings of individuals or entities with accounts in the Geneva branch of HSBC’s Swiss subsidiary HSBC Private Bank. The information was stolen from the bank by a former employee on a particular day in 2006. The list was given to India by France in June 2011.
According to documents accessed by The Indian Express, the HSBC list contains names of 628 Indian individuals or entities. The Income Tax Department has so far found matches between names and addresses in 418 cases. In 282 of these cases, however, either the account number or the balance in the account is not available.
In general, the list contains four sets of information: name, address, account number and balance.
Of the 136 individuals or entities who have acknowledged the accounts, many have pleaded that they were not aware of their existence, but would pay the tax and penalty due, senior I-T officers involved in the investigation said. Many of these 136 accounts show zero balance.
The addresses against 12 of the 418 names in the list belong to Kolkata. However, only six have confirmed that the account belongs to them.
The highest amount in the list is $ 18 million, allegedly belonging to two top industrialists.
The most common surnames on the list are Mehta and Patel.
French authorities had secured the list from software technologist Hervé Falciani, who has been collaborating with several European countries tracking suspected tax evaders with accounts in Swiss banks. The list contains alleged account data on the date Falciani procured them.
The Indian Express was the first to report in August 2011 that the French had handed over to India the list of HSBC account holders of Indian origin. The government is in the process of sending a list of 50 names from the 136 to Swiss authorities to confirm the authenticity of the information.