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May 08, 2011




Page: 12/36

Home > 2011 Issues > May 08, 2011

Black money comes mainly from India—Julian Assange, WikiLeaks

AT a stage where governments around the world have tried to hide away from the embarrassment caused by WikiLeaks expose on black money , founder Julian Assange speaks exclusively to Times Now’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami on the Swiss bank data and Indian names features in the same.

Julian Assange, made a stunning disclosure, that there could be Indian names in the data that WikiLeaks would publish. In the course of the interview, Assange appealed to Indians to absolutely not lose hope that the names of those with secret Swiss accounts will come out at one point in the future. Hinting that WikiLeaks might work with specialised agencies before releasing the Swiss bank data he pulled up the Indian government for not being aggressive like Germany in going after the list of Indian account holders. In fact he said India should be more aggressive because India seems like it is losing per capita more tax money than Germany.

This is the first time Assange has spoken about Indian accounts in these Swiss banks, and comes at a time when the national debate over Swiss Bank accounts has sharpened.

You have strong views on it. And I completely appreciate that you can’t talk about it in detail. But let me ask you more generically, that is your heart, you would like to reveal the details...in your heart. I am not asking you when and under what circumstances, but having known about it, you would like to reveal details of how the system operates, wouldn’t you?
Well, we have various types of information about different banking operations in the world. Over time, we have revealed those. In fact, most of the legal attacks on us have been from banks. Banks in Scotland...banks in Dubai...banks in Iceland. We all received legal attacks from these banks. And we will continue publishing data on these banks as soon as we are able to do so.

Have you encountered any Indian names? I am not asking you to tell me where, which banks...
Yes there are Indian names in the data we have already published or going to publish. I can’t remember specifically whether there are Indian names in the upcoming publication. But I have read Indian names. Similarly, in these private Swiss banking concerns, where you need at least a million dollars...which is a significant amount of money...Not an average Indian.

And it is difficult to identify those names. Anything else you can tell us?
I can’t tell you anything more at this stage. As we go through the process of releasing data, as always we have to do extra research. And once we understand which media organisations are best placed to help us with that research, then we operate with them. But we are not at that stage yet that I know all the research that is going on.

To all our Indian viewers, just one point. Should they lose hope that the names will come out at one point.

No

What would you say to them?
That you should absolutely not lose hope. It is quite interesting. There is a...There are different forces at play here. The German government in particular has been very strong. There needs to be transparency in banking operations. It has gone so far as to buy CDs off...in Liechtenstein and so on...To reveal this information. Very, very aggressive approach by the German government and the German government is the dominant power within Europe. So, those German attitudes are seeping into Europe as a whole. The US has also been applying pressure in relation to UBS and tax evaders.

So the problem is, as Swiss bank accounts are opened up there are simply other ways to deal with the situation. So you go and register a trust, in say Charles and then the trust then goes and opens a Swiss account, but what is there is a trust in Charles..Then you have to break that trust in Charles. That is the problem throughout the offshore sector. That is quite hard to deal with. In case you get this through regulation, investigation...you kind of get this at a level that although people can hide their assets in this way, the amount of expense and effort and risk involved in the asset hiding doesn’t make it worthwhile.

Given the economic and political clout that India wields, any reason that India should not be as aggressive?
No. There is no reason why India should not be aggressive. In fact maybe, it should be more aggressive because India seems like it is losing per capita much more tax money than Germany.

(http:economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/interviews/black-money-comes-mainly-from-india-julian-assange-wikileaks/articleshow/8088006.cms)




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