The finance ministry is persistent in its attempts to get details of the black money stashed in foreign banks. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee who met Liechtenstein’s acting head of state Prince Alois in this regard on Tuesday, expressed concerns over funneling of black money from India. German banks in Liechtenstein, a principality in Europe which is also a tax haven, is known for having bank accounts of many Indians who have to park illegal funds.
Mukherjee met the Prince of Liechtenstein in the Capital though none of the officials from the ministry were kept in the loop regarding the meeting. Ministry of external affairs had arranged the meeting.
Sources said, Liechtenstein has assured that it would reveal details of the bank accounts but only on a condition that India can establish that these account-holders are involved in tax evasion-related crimes.
At least 18 Indians reportedly have secret bank accounts in German banks. In February 2008, India had approached the German authorities after reports of a stolen CD containing names of bank account holders came out in Europe. The German government handed over the CD to the Indian government later.
Sources also said Liechtenstein has expressed keen interest in concluding a double taxation avoidance treaty (DTAA) and a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India.
The country that has bilateral trade hovering around $ 5 million with India is reforming its tax code for the first time in 40 years. The Principality of Liechtenstein is a landlocked alpine micro-state in Western Europe, bordered by Switzerland and Austria.