In comments that could fuel a fresh controversy over the black money issue, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Tuesday said there are Indian names in the Swiss bank data list that are going to be made public.
“Yes, there are Indian names in the data that we have already published or are going to publish. I can't remember specifically whether there are Indian names in the coming publication. But I have read Indian names,” Mr. Assange told Times Now.
He indicated there are bigwigs among the Indians with accounts in Swiss banks, as “you need at least a million dollars, which is a significant amount of money...not [possible for] an average Indian...”
Asked whether the names would come at any point, he said on “that, you should absolutely not lose hope.”
He, however, declined to reveal anything more on the issue at this stage.
Noting that he has come to know through a report that there are more Indian deposits in the Swiss banks than that of any other nationality, he said: “There is no reason why India should not be aggressive.”
Praising the German government for its aggressive approach to unearth black money stashed away offshore, he said that India “should be more aggressive because India seems like it is losing per capita much more tax than Germany.”
Mr. Assange alleged that the Indian government's response to the WikiLeaks cables was “one of the worst in the world” and a “clear attempt to mislead the nation on what the cables were.”
He said the response by the Indian government left a lot to be desired.
Mr. Assange also dismissed its contention that accords on double taxation were coming in the way of tracking the trail of black money.
“Double taxation does not have anything to do with asset hiding. It doesn't simply cover asset hiding,” he said.
Mr. Assange said the issue of stashing black money away in foreign banks was much worse than just local corruption as when money is pushed offshore, “...then every time they are selling rupees and the result is that the currency of the nation is debased... everything for all Indians becomes more expensive as a result of that transfer.”
He had earlier claimed that he was handed over documents of bank accounts by a former banker Rudolf Elmer and the whistleblower also claimed that the names in the documents came from “the U.S., Britain, Germany, Austria and Asia — from all over,” and include “business people, politicians, people who have made their living in the arts and multinational conglomerates — from both sides of the Atlantic.”