Advani And The Swiss Bank Money Hoax
Self-appointed Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani apparently is too excited about the Internet. He suddenly is receiving chain mails like all of us – and has decided the government policy should be decided based on these email forwards.
Mr.Advani now wants all black money stashed away in Swiss banks by Indians brought back. And he promises to do that if he comes to power. Well, how a man who couldn’t negotiate a few hijackers – will arm-twist Swiss bankers is beyond me.
But Mr. Advani has a lot of figures to quote from a “credible source” called the Wikipedia.
Quoting Wikipedia, which he described as the “most credible” source of information, Mr. Advani said that in 2007, holdings in Swiss banks by Indians were estimated at $5.7 billion, up from $2.6 billion in 2001
His press release says:
It is equally well known that many wealthy Indians have deposited their illicit monies in secret Swiss bank accounts and tax havens elsewhere around the world. As per credible estimates, these amounts range between $500 billion (Rs. 25,00,000 crore) and $1400 billion (Rs. 70,00,000 crore).
Now where in the whole Wikipedia do these figures appear? I can’t find any such mention in the Wiki. Probably it has been edited out. But I can tell you precisely where Mr.Advani got those “credible estimates” from.
It comes from a hoax email chain that has been around for a couple of years now. A version of it is here. Over the past year or so – a number of journalists, web media guys and bloggers have fallen for this and have converted the email contents into news reports and blog posts. And now Advani, the PM-in-waiting too has fallen for it.
Here’s what this legend claims.
Black money in Swiss banks — Swiss Banking Association report, 2006 details bank deposits in the territory of Switzerland by nationals of following countries:
India—- $1456 billion
Russia—$ 470 billion
Ukraine- $100 billion
China—–$ 96 billion
Okay, the small problem is that the ‘Swiss Banking Association’ simply doesn’t exist. There is a ‘Swiss Bankers Association’ - but that never released any such report. So, where does Advani’s figures come from?
Further Advani has a crack team in place who will work out a way to bring the money back.
The BJP will form a Task Force comprising experts in law, accounting, management and intelligence to prepare a strategic document for India to recommend ways to get back the national wealth stashed away illegally by the corrupt politicians, venal businessmen and criminal overlords. Shri S. Gurumurthy, well-known chartered accountant and writer specializing in investigative journalism; Dr. R. Vaidyanathan, Professor of Finance at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore; Shri Mahesh Jethmalani, a renowned lawyer; and Shri Ajit Doval, an acclaimed national security expert, have agreed to work voluntarily on this Task Force.
Now in addition to Advani – we have a further four idiots who don’t even the know the source of the information they are throwing around – and they will recommend ways to get back the money.
I don’t mind Advani’s populist promises- but at least he could get his facts right.