Revealing black money info is a security breach: UK

RSTV Bureau

hsbc_bankIn a setback to the Central government on its commitment to bring back black money stashed abroad, the government of United Kingdom has alleged the Union government of breaching the confidentiality clause.

United Kingdom’s move has come after Germany too lodging a formal request with the Finance Ministry over the alleged breach of confidentiality of secret documents and data received through diplomatic channels.

The objections raised by the German authorities concerned the 18 names of Indian account holders in the LGT bank, Liechtenstein were disclosed to the Supreme Court of India. The objections also emphasised that the names were later made public too.

This came to light when a report relating to the transactions made by a retired Indian navy officer appeared in public domain.

For the fact, India has signed DTAA (Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement) with Germany and United Kingdom, which states that there must be a confidentiality clause and which stipulated that the shared information should not be used for the purpose of tracing undeclared assets and tax collection.

Owing to the disclosure of information, an Indian officer said “It has become a serious problem.
Especially, since we have a large volume of references pending with the authorities in UK. We are now trying to convince the two countries that disclosure of information in both cases was not done by us.”

The issue of black money has been dominating a political discourse in India, especially after the BJP too to an aggressive campaign to bring back unaccounted wealth stashed in foreign bank when they were in the opposition. Now, in government, the BJP is facing opposition’s questions on bringing back the black money.

Earlier, the Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha had said “The government has taken every possible measure to effectively deal with the issue of black money”.

The MoS had also stressed that the government is commitment on its promise of black money. He further emphasised that the measures taken by the government include setting up of an Special Investigation Team (SIT).

The Union government has also been claiming that their efforts in joining the global efforts to combat cross-border global tax evasion and tax fraud and promoting international tax compliance will lead to desired results.

However, with UK not hiding its unhappiness over the breach of confidentiality, the bid to get back black money may get a set-back. Especially, the exchange of information may take a hit now.