Not routing black money into India: Mauritius

Manoj Rammohan

Paris, Feb 3 (PTI) Mauritius today said it has put inplace all necessary checks against flow of black money andillicit funds were not being routed through it into India.

Facing allegations of being a facilitator for flow ofblack money stashed abroad by Indians back into India, theisland nation said the whole criticism was only a matter ofperception and had no truth in it.

"I completely disagree with the criticism that blackmoney is routed through our country into India. The wholecriticism is just a matter of perception," Mauritius VicePrime Minister and Minister for Finance and EconomicDevelopment Pravind Kumar Jugnauth told PTI here.

He made the comments in reply to queries related to thewidespread criticism that black money was being routed throughMauritius into India, on the sidelines of the global congresson combating counterfeiting and piracy here.

There have been reports that Indians could be usingMauritius as a route for bringing back black money into India,while taking advantage of low and friendly tax regime in theisland nation located in the southwest Indian ocean.

"We have a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) withIndia and it is doing well ... I believe that about 44 percent of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into India is routedthrough Mauritius. Mechanisms are in place (to check the issueof black money)," Jugnauth said.

"We (Mauritius) have the framework to facilitateinvestments (into India) and through (our country) Indians canalso make investments in Africa," he added.

When asked whether India is right now talking toMauritius on any particular aspect of checking the black moneyflow, he said, "We always keep talking to each other..."

A study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation andDevelopment (OECD), the global agency working onimplementation of international standards on taxation andother matters, last month named Mauritius among countrieswhere laws do not meet global standards.

As per OECD, "there are missing elements in the legalframework (of Mauritius) such as accounting information onsome of the offshore companies.

"The assessment of the practice in Mauritius shows thatthere is room for improvement, in particular as regards theaccess to bank information by the tax authorities," it said.

OECD, in its review of Mauritius, also took note ofreports expressing concern over Indian taxpayers usingMauritian business entities to round-trip profits. It,however, noted that Mauritius'' Financial Services Commissionshas put in place preventive measures and sanctions.

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