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Bring back Indian money stashed abroad: Advani tells PM- Hindustan Times

“I want to demand today that the prime minister raise this issue strongly at the G-20 and ask to be provided with the details of the Indian wealth abroad,” Advani told reporters in New Delhi.

“I want to say that if NDA (BJP-led National Democratic Alliance) is voted to power, we will pursue this issue at legal and executive level and force Indian citizens to bring back their wealth to the country,” Advani said, citing the ‘crusade’ by western countries against tax havens provided by Swiss banks.

Advani quoted figures to buttress his point.

“The total amount in foreign banks was $2.6 trillion in 2001 and in 2007 it was $5.7 trillion, which amounts to Rs.285 lakh crore. This is total – India’s share is between $500 billion and $1,400 billion in 2001 and 2007 respectively,” said Advani. (via Bring back Indian money stashed abroad: Advani tells PM- Hindustan Times).

Swiss Gold ...

Swiss Gold ...

Karat, Advani & Co. … you have been had …

The figures of US$1400 billion you are referring to, are from a bogus chain-mail. While there may be some Swiss accounts owned by Indians, it is nowhere near the figures that are being thrown about.

Back to the sources

Google search showed that this Swiss Bank story originated from a chain-mail.

The Swiss Banking Federation has NO such report – that I can make out. (BTW, the Swiss Banking Federation has only French and German versions of their reports. So, much for English being a universal language).

I also found just one blogger who did trash this chainmail. Again, like the Indian Hacker Hoax, the New York Times made no mention of Indian accounts in the Swiss banks – and neither did Time magazine. But another lazy Indian journalist, Praful Bidwai, hedged his statements, by the use of words like ‘off-the-record conversations’ and ‘highly credible independent accounts’ along with with words like ‘substantial‘.

This looks like the Indian hacker story which appeared some time back – and Indian media picked up without verifying anything. Turned out, that it was a complete hoax – a fabrication.

Such chain-mails, I think spring from: –

  1. The low esteem of Indians.
  2. Willingness to believe the worst about other Indians.
  3. Colonial era prejudices and biases – especially against our politicians and industrialists.

Chain-mail hoax

This story seems to be in the same category as

  1. Indians are 40% of NASA; 50% of Microsoft and Intel is 40% Indians chain-mail story, which our Minister, D Purandeshwari used in the Parliament to embarrassing effect.
  2. The other type of email that periodically does the rounds is the one about Indian Parliament meets for less than 100 days and our politicians cost the Indian taxpayer more than Rs.100 cr. for every minute kind of email.
  3. Do you know how many people were hospitalized /died after Sankrantri /Holi /Diwali kind of chain mail.
The imaginary Indian Swiss Accounts

The imaginary Indian Swiss Accounts

The same text, has been on the blogosphere, pseudo-news sites, Internet for most of the last 1 year. Google Search throws up more than 200 links which quote the same chain-mail.

I went through about 80-90 of these links and practically all of them were the same text. People are just doing a copy paste of the same story. I wonder who did this story – first. What was the motivation?

All political parties, (CPM, JD(U), BJP, et al) – everyone, jumped onto this hoax chain mail.

Maybe our esteemed politicians and the Great Indian Middle Class should actually go after some real problems – instead of imaginary windmills.

  1. galeo rhinus
    April 2, 2009 at 4:43 am

    the link shows the off-shore financial safe havens for wealth individuals. the total is much larger when you add up the less wealthy individuals.
    so – the estimate of 5.7 trillion dollars being stashed away is not unreasonable. Economist February 27. 2009 (http://www.economist.com/daily/chartgallery/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13208826)

    2. net outflow from developing countries. See page 6 and note 21 of this article and also this article (http://www.oxfam.org.uk/resources/policy/debt_aid/downloads/bn_g20summit%20.pdf and http://siteresources.worldbank.org/NEWS/Resources/Star-rep-full.pdf)

    What these reports give are the names of the people who have been deposed or tainted – because they no longer serve as an investment engine for the western economy.

    The Gandhi family is obviously not listed – because they serve as an ongoing client and so do dozens of other regional families.

    The estimate ranges are 500 billion dollars ANNUALLY from developing countries find their way into “safe havens” across the globe including Switzerland. (page 15 of pdf sequence)

    Indonesia was sending about 0.6% to 1.4% of its GDP and Phillippines was sending between 1.5% and 4.5% of its GDP. The global average was about 0.9% to 1.8%

    India being a current client – will not be discussed – but we could try to estimate using two different ways:

    If the annual outflows from all developing nations is 500 billion – what fraction of that will be from India? India is about half the world’s developing population, but probably only a quarter corrupt as others (say brazil or africa)… so we can go with an estimate of 1/8 of the 500 billion comes from India – this includes all source – very wealthy individuals like the Gandhi’s or less wealthy individuals… about 60 billion per year. So a total estimate of 500 billion to 1.4 trillion is a reasonable estimate considering that this has been going on for decades.

    The second method – estimating the outflow by few families.

    Using 1.5% of GDP in dollar terms – this comes to about 5-6 billion dollars annualy by the gandhi’s. which is approximately 10% of the other estimate we came to above… both are reasonable – because the gandhi’s would be at the top of this chart and there would be at least 100-200 families who must be hedging their bets and parking at least some of their money abroad.

    the figure of 500 to 1400 billion dollars of total assets from India sitting foreign safe havens is definitely not unreasonable…

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