Waiting for India''s request in Hasan Ali case: Swiss govt

Posted By: Pti
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New Delhi, Jan 30 (PTI) Amid a raging controversy overblack money allegedly stashed by stud farm owner Hasan Ali inSwiss banks, Switzerland has said it is awaiting a "complete"request from India for help in this case since 2007.

Switzerland''s Federal Office of Justice (FoJ) had lasttold Indian authorities in August 2010 to complete theirrequest and the request has not been completed so far, an FoJspokesperson told PTI.

India had first sought legal assistance from the Swissauthorities in January 2007 in this case, but Switzerland canprovide help only after India makes a request "complete" withfacts corresponding to a fraudulent conduct of the accused,the official said in reply to emailed queries by PTI.

Besides, the Swiss government''s internal probe in thecase of Hasan Ali, who is alleged to have stashed billions ofdollars of illicit wealth in Swiss and other foreign banks,has found no reality in the presumed transfer of USD 6 billionto his accounts in Swiss bank UBS, he added.

The spokesperson said that numerous communications havetaken place between the two countries in connection with thiscase, but Switzerland can provide legal assistance in thematter only after the request corresponds to a tax fraud.

Addressing a press conference on the black money issue,Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said last week thatinvestigation was still continuing in the Hasan Ali matter andthe case was being pursued both by the Enforcement Directorateand the Income Tax department.

Mukherjee said that there were several cases involvedagainst Ali, including a double passport case and avoidance oftaxes and the ED had received information on three Swiss bankaccounts allegedly held by him, where no amounts were left.

"One account where USD 60,000 were deposited, and nextday the amount was withdrawn. There was no trace of that,"Mukherjee said, adding that the government had seized somedocuments related to Ali''s foreign bank accounts that laterturned out to be forged.

"On the basis of forged document no information can begiven (by Swiss banks)," the Minister added.

In reply to queries on this matter, the FoJ spokespersonprovided an entire chronology of the case since 2007.

"In January 2007, Indian authorities submitted in thecontext of criminal proceedings against Hassan Ali Khan(namely for money laundering) a request for legal assistanceto FoJ. They asked Swiss authorities to freeze his bankaccounts and to hand over the relevant banking documents."

In the same month, FoJ informed the Indian authoritiesthat "concerning the presumed transfer of 6 billions USDdomestic inquiries has revealed that the supposed transfer toUBS accounts has no reality." .

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