Black money: Swiss government agrees to share details of two Indian firms


New Delhi/Berne: As Switzerland continues to shed its image as a safe haven for alleged black money, the Alpine nation has agreed to share with Indian authorities the details about two companies and three individuals who are facing multiple probes back in India.

One of the two Indian companies used to be a publicly-listed entity and has already faced the wrath of capital markets regulator Sebi for multiple violations, while the other firm is said to have political links in Tamil Nadu.

As per separate gazette notifications of the Swiss government, the country’s federal tax department has agreed to provide ‘administrative assistants’ to India on requests made about Geodesic Ltd and Aadhi Enterprises Private Ltd.

Similar requests have also been accepted for three individuals associated with Geodesic Ltd — Pankajkumar Onkar Srivastava, Prashant Sharad Mulekar and Kiran Kulkarni.

While the Swiss government did not disclose specific details related to the information and assistance sought by the Indian authorities regarding the two companies and the three individuals, such an ‘administrative assistants’ follows submission of proof about financial and tax-related wrongdoings and typically involves sharing of information relating to bank account details and other financial data.

The concerned companies and the individuals can file an appeal against the decision of Switzerland’s Federal Tax Administration (FTA) to provide administrative assistance to India.

Repeated attempts to contact the two companies and the three individuals for their comments failed to yield any result.

In the past, they have denied any wrongdoing. The 1982-incorporated Geodesic, once known as a fast-growing company with cutting-edge technology solutions, does not have a functional website anymore and is also no longer a listed entity as trading in its shares has been suspended by the stock exchanges for “procedural reasons”.

The company and its directors have faced regulatory action by Sebi as well as other authorities like the Enforcement Directorate and the Economic Offence Wing of the Mumbai Police.

As per latest available details about the company on the stock exchanges, Pankajkumar was listed as Geodesic’s chairman, Kiran Kulkarni as managing director and Prashant Mulekar as executive director.

In case of Aadhi Enterprises Pvt Ltd, which was incorporated in Chennai in November 2014, the company is said to have seen a rapid growth in real estate and other businesses, but soon landed in trouble due to alleged links to tainted politicians and for allegedly indulging in money laundering.

According to reports, the Income Tax Department has conducted multiple raids on properties of the company’s promoters.

While Switzerland has always denied being a safe haven for black money, it has traditionally been known for its strong banking secrecy laws that had to be eased following a strong global crackdown on illicit funds being stashed in such jurisdictions.

The Alpine nation has been sharing details for many years with several countries including India after submission of evidence about financial and tax-related wrongdoings of the clients of Swiss banks.

Besides, a new framework of automatic information exchange has been now put in place and the details can be accessed under the new system from next year.