NEW DELHI: Indians are the largest depositors in banks abroad with an estimated 500 billion US dollars (nearly Rs 24.5 lakh crore) of illegal money stashed by them in tax havens, the CBI director said on Monday.
India, in particular, has suffered from the flow of illegal funds to tax havens such as Mauritius, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, British Virgin islands etc.
"It is estimated that around 500 billion dollars of illegal money belonging to Indians is deposited in tax havens abroad. Largest depositors in Swiss Banks are also reported to be Indians," CBI director A P Singh said speaking at the inauguration of first interpol global programme on anti-corruption and asset recovery.
He said getting information about such illegal transactions is a time taking process as investigators have to peel each layer by sending judicial requests to the country where such deposits have been made.
"53 per cent of the countries said to be least corrupt by the Transparency International Index are offshore tax havens, where most of the corrupt money goes. The tax havens include New Zealand which is ranked as the least corrupt country, Singapore ranked number five and Switzerland number seven," Singh said.
He said there is a lack of political will in the leading tax haven states to part with the information because they are aware of the extent to which their economies have become "geared to this flow of illegal capitals from the poorer countries."