Will help India unravel black money trail: Mauritius

New Delhi, Feb 20 (PTI) Facing flak over its tax-friendlyregime allegedly facilitating the flow of black money,Mauritius has promised full support to India''s quest forunearthing the source and destination of such illicit wealth.

At the same time, the Indian Ocean''s island nation hasalso asserted that it will not allow any "sensational fishingexpedition" and has taken strong exception to its name beinglinked to each and every financial scandal.

Replying to email queries on whether it would help Indiatrack black money, the Mauritian Finance Ministry told PTIthat Mauritius was collaborating with India to track the"black money" and the collaboration between the two countrieshas been strengthened on this front.

Mauritius'' Ministry of Finance and Economic Developmentreplied in the affirmative to a query on whether it wouldshare banking information on Indian entities with accounts inthe country.

Concerns have been raised in the recent past oversuspicion of round-tripping or routing of Indians'' illicitmoney back into the country through the Mauritius.

Indian agencies are said to have increased theiroversight after they noticed a significant surge in venturecapital funds coming from Mauritius in sectors like telecomand real estate, which have been under close scrutiny inrecent times for money laundering.

The tax-friendly regime in Mauritius has always been akey factor for entities that wish to invest in India to set upshop in the island nation. However, this tax benefit has alsocome in handy for those wishing to indulge in round-trippingactivities or routing of illicit funds back into India throughthe Mauritius.

Detailing the various steps taken by Mauritius on theblack money issue, the Finance Ministry of the island nationsaid it has received various information requests from Indiaon this matter and they all have been duly answered.

"However, information sharing for intelligence purposesand mutual legal assistance are provided on establishedinternational practices and not on sensational fishingexpeditions," the ministry said.

Switzerland, which is said to be the biggest haven forIndian black money, has also ruled out any fishing expedition(trawling of their bank accounts) by India or any othercountry in the hope of finding something interesting.

Swiss banks have said they would only entertaininformation sharing requests backed by concrete proof of asuspected tax offence by their account holders.

Mauritius said its existing treaty with India providesfor sharing of banking information and its banks and otherfinancial institutions are required to maintain "full and truewritten record of every transaction they conduct." MORE PTIBSP BJ ARV

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