Tuesday, September 13, 2011
From the Task Force Blog:
GFI in the News
Reuters, September 13, 2011
By Sumeet Chatterjee
MUMBAI – Ajay Piramal is just the sort of big fish every Indian private banker would love to land. With businesses from healthcare to glass and property, the 56-year-old Piramal has a net worth of $1.4 billion, according to Forbes, good for 39th on its India rich list.
The problem, at least for the swelling ranks of wealth managers in India, is that Piramal doesn’t need them, putting his millions instead in his own companies and real estate ventures.
Tax Evasion & Avoidance
AFP, September 11, 2011
ZURICH — Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse on Sunday said it had provided Washington statistical data on US clients, local media reported.
“Credit Suisse has provided statistical information on its US customers,” the bank’s Chairman of the Board of Directors Urs Rohner said in an interview in the Swiss weekly NZZ am Sonntag.
The Guardian, September 12, 2011
MPs told that international efforts to break down Swiss banking secrecy would have taken a decade or more
By Alex Hawkes
Tax authorities would not have been able to break Swiss banking secrecy for 10 years or more, a senior civil servant has said, in a defence of HMRC’s controversial tax deal under which tax will be paid on cash in Swiss bank accounts, but under condition of anonymity. Critics say eventually international pressure would have forced Switzerland to remove the veil of anonymity from account holders there. But HMRC permanent secretary for tax Dave Hartnett told the Treasury sub-committee on Monday that in the next 10 years breaking down Swiss banking secrecy certainly “seemed very unlikely”.
Tax campaigner Richard Murphy has argued that the deal has delayed international efforts to break down Swiss secrecy. “I am not saying Swiss bank secrecy was going to break down tomorrow. But the US is making big progress, the direction of travel is substantially in the direction of openness. This deal has guaranteed that anonymity is reinforced,” he said on Monday.
Bloomberg, September 13, 2011
By Giles Broom
GENEVA – HSBC Holdings Plc clients with accounts at its Swiss private bank in Geneva are the target of a widening investigation by U.K. authorities into alleged tax evasion, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Revenue and Customs, known as HMRC, will write to an additional 4,500 clients of the London-based bank, giving them the choice of making a full disclosure or face investigation, said the people, who declined to be named because the matter is confidential. About 800 customers have already been sent so- called Code of Practice 9 letters informing them that their tax affairs over the past 20 years will be probed, they said.
The Telegraph, September 13, 2011
By Rosie Murray-West
A Parliamentary Question by Jonathan Reynolds revealed that the team recovered £162m from the ultra wealthy people that it deals with. Two years ago, these same individuals were handing over just £25m in tax.
“The great majority of our very wealthy individuals aim to be, and are, tax compliant,” said a spokesman for HM Revenue & Customs. “We won’t hesitate to take action against the small minority who bend or break the rules, to recover additional tax that should be due.”
India & Black Money
Times of India, September 13, 2011
NEW DELHI – Rudolf Elmer, a rare whistleblower who has brought out much information on secret Swiss banks accounts, has accused the Indian government of not being serious enough in getting details of black money stashed away in Swiss banks.
In his first statement on Indian accounts in Swiss banks after being released from jail, Elmer said, “The Indian government doesn’t do enough.” He said society has to put pressure on the government to act. “India is a big country, which is getting stronger by the day. It has the negotiating power,” he told an Indian news channel.
Wall Street Journal, September 9, 2011
By Sam Rubenfeld
Sellers of prepaid-access cards have an extra six months until they have to comply with rules covering the cards, a Treasury department agency said Friday.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, said in a notice that sellers will now have until March 31, 2012, to comply with rules governing the cards, which are seen as a tool to launder money. The rule was scheduled to go into effect Sept. 27.
Wall Street Journal, September 9, 2011
By Sam Rubenfeld
The U.S. Justice Department said in a legal filing that a former Thai government official’s motion to dismiss money-laundering charges against her conflates and confuses statutes, and ignores relevant case law.
Juthamas Siriwan, the former governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and her daughter Jittsopa Siriwan, were charged in January 2009 in an eight-count indictment with money laundering $1.8 million in bribes the elder Siriwan allegedly received from husband-and-wife film producers Gerald and Patricia Green. (The Greens were convicted in 2009 and sentenced to six months in jail, and prosecutors backed down on an appeal for a longer sentence.)
Global Post, September 12, 2011
Computer consulting firm Accenture LLP has settled a lawsuit that alleges it accepted kickbacks from IT companies to recommend their products to its government clients.
By News Desk
Computer consulting firm Accenture LLP, a U.S.-based unit of Dublin-based Accenture PLC (ACN), has settled a lawsuit that alleges it accepted bribes from IT companies to recommend their products to its government clients.
Accenture will pay $63.7 million to settle the suit but denies any wrongdoing, PC Magazine reports.
Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2011
By Joe Palazzolo
With lawmakers back in Washington, we reckoned readers might benefit from a sampling of bills piled up in Congress this session that deal with corruption, money laundering, whistleblowers and other Corruption Currents sweet spots. Only one has made its way onto the legislative calendar, and others may be more gambit than serious legislation. But each carries the potential for a major shift in the U.S. anti-corruption regime.