India offers ‘cash reward’ to HSBC whistleblower

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 24, 2015 01:56 IST

India has offered a “cash reward” to a former HSBC Bank employee-turned-whistleblower in exchange for fresh information on citizens against whom evidence exists of stashing away black money in secret overseas bank accounts.

Official sources told HT that the government has established contact with Herve Falciani and offered him a cash reward but did not disclose the amount. The government is awaiting his response.

“A few rounds of meetings have been held with Falciani. He has more information which we expect him to provide us with,” a senior government official, who did not wish to be identified, told HT.

The income tax department is expected to file before March 31 a complaint against HSBC Bank, Geneva, for “abetting” tax evasion. These accounts pertain to 2006-07 and would get time barred — the lawsuit could get dismissed because of the length of time involved.

In October, the government had handed over to the Supreme Court a list of 628 Indian entities holding bank accounts with HSBC in Geneva, Switzerland.

Following up on BJP’s poll promise of bringing black money back, the Modi government ordered the setting up of a special investigation team in line with a Supreme Court order last year. The team’s mandate has since been expanded to focus on the parallel economy thriving at home.

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