Money & Banking
HSBC Geneva accounts: I-T digs for more funds info

The I-T department has written to a number of foreign tax authorities as details of stashed funds on more than 60% of those named on the list show the bank balances of a particular day rather than the entire financial transactions done by the individual or the account holder

New Delhi: The Income Tax (I-T) department in India has begun digging for more banking and fund records data of those persons who feature on the classified HSBC bank Geneva list, sent to India by the French government, reports PTI.


The department, through the Finance Ministry, has written to a number of foreign tax authorities as details of stashed funds on more than 60% of those named on the list show the bank balances of a particular day rather than the entire financial transactions done by the individual or the account holder.


Sources said in most of the cases featuring on the secret list, either the bank balances are very small or show 'nil' amounts without stating the actual amount of funds secretly hidden by the individual.


The I-T and the Finance Ministry, hence, has now approached a few countries including Switzerland and France to allow them access to the 'full transaction activity' of these entities from the period the accounts were opened.


"The communication with foreign tax authorities are being done under the provisions of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA)," sources said.


Apart from the alpine nation where the bank had its branch, the I-T has written to few more unspecified countries after a probe by enforcement agencies showed that the featured entities could have invested funds at these offshore locations in order to evade the tax scanner.


The I-T has already decided to begin prosecution action against those having "substantial" amounts in their bank accounts shown in this list.


The department has also begun a country-wide I-T assessment of those persons whose names have figured in these lists.


India had obtained data of over 700 HSBC accounts from French government channels last year.


Citibank plans 'Cyber Monday' like e-shopping sale on 5th December

Although restricted to Citibank's customers, the 'Cyber Monday' would provide discounts of up to 60% across various product categories on 17 well-known internet shopping platforms on 5th December

New Delhi: India may soon have its own version of 'Cyber Monday', when billion-dollar worth products are sold online at heavy discounts within a day, with Citibank planning a similar mega e-shopping sale this week in India, reports PTI.


Although restricted to Citibank's customers, it would provide discounts of up to 60% across various product categories on 17 well-known internet shopping platforms within a time frame of 24 hours on Wednesday, 5th December -- making it the country's first-ever 'Cyber Sunday' event.


First coined in 2005 as a marketing term by online retailers for the Monday coming after 'Black Friday', which itself is the name for Friday after Thanksgiving in the US, the 'Cyber Monday' has become a phenomenon over the years.


With rising popularity, the 'Cyber Mondays' have recorded billion-dollar sales during the past four years.


Announcing the launch of its own one-day online mega sale, Citibank said it is yet to decide whether it would follow the annual 'Cyber Monday' model when it comes to the frequency of the event and the dynamics of the Indian market might require it to be conducted at least twice a year.


Citibank said it aims to promote e-commerce by bringing together leading ecommerce players on one platform on the day through this event, named 'OMG! Sale'.


Although the 5th December event would be limited to its own credit and debit cardholders, Citibank India Chief Marketing Officer Sanjeev Kapur told PTI that other players might also replicate the model and Citi is also open to joining hands with other like-minded partners as well in this initiative.


"There would certainly be other players, either banks or other institutions who may want to replicate it. We will not be surprised if other players replicate the concept either wholly or in part.


"If we get like-minded professionals and entrepreneurs who are agnostic to the market and do not have any specific agenda other than growing the online b2c commerce market and would like to partner with us to strengthen this platform for our customers, we will certainly consider it with an open mind.


"Consequently, if a media partner or a large group approaches us to make this proposition even bigger, we would be very happy to evaluate it, as our intention is to grow this market and proliferate the online commerce value proposition within the industry and consumers alike," he said.


Asked about how much time it would take a culture similar to 'Cyber Monday' to develop in India, Kapur said that the growth could be much faster here as compared to the US and other Western markets, as has been the trend in adoption of other technology-related markets like mobile phones.


Muge Yuzuak, Managing Director & Head of Payments at Citibank India said that 2-3 years would be a good time line.


"I believe 2-3 years would be a good timeframe, maybe two years on the earlier side, keeping in mind the way things are changing. But 2-3 years timeframe would be the right thing to say. Also, it is a good thing if others replicate it to grow the market and competition is always welcome. Giving consumers choice, helps us strengthen our value proposition," she said.


Citibank said that the discounts on 'OMG! Sale' will average around 30% and extend up to 60%.


"Market research also indicates e-tailing in India is growing faster than any other Asia Pacific market with consumers becoming more discerning and demanding better deals.


Encouraged by these early growth patterns, we believe market-first initiatives such as the 'OMG! Sale' will help promote e-tailing in India," Yuzuak said.


The event would allow Citi cardholders to buy products across electronics, apparel, high-end lifestyle, travel, baby care, gifts, wellness, home decoration and furniture.


Citi has tied up with 17 websites --,,,,,,,, highstreet,,,, hoopos. com,,, and


"We will be leveraging micro-blogging sites, mobile advertising and driving viral content on social platforms to engage with our digitally savvy customers," Kapur said.


"Based on the interest it generates, we intend to make it a periodic affair. We have not yet decided the frequency of the offer, but we expect it to definitely be a regular feature going forward," he said.


Asked whether it could an annual affair like Cyber Monday, he said Cyber Monday takes place annually because it is linked to one single 'Black Friday'.


"Since the concept is fairly nascent and new in our market, it may require us to hold it at least twice a year.


Ideally, we would not want to restrict it to being an annual event at this early stage of development. Having said that, we intend to calendarise this event, so going forward the market and our customers know when to expect it during the year and hopefully look forward to some deep and meaningful discounts," he said.


On the time-frame for a culture similar to Cyber Monday to develop in India, Kapur said that most of the technology-related trends in emerging markets have always jump-started and have not exactly gone the way of the western markets.


He further said that the initiative was not just about growing the bank's sales.


"It is about building a new culture. We have been a pioneer in bringing new products, new value propositions to our customers. We want them to experience a whole new world of e-commerce where they also get great value. If we are able to multiply our sales in the process, then it would be an added advantage, but it is not the most important driver for us at this point in time, " he added.


Citi is one of the leading issuers of credit card in India with about 2.3 million cards currently in force. Citi accounts for 20% of total credit card spending in the country and the average spend on Citi cards is more than double the industry average.


Chidambaram asks banks to give more education loans

The Finance Minister asked banks to lend more money to students as education loan

Mohali: Around 24 lakh students took loans for education with banks having an outstanding amount of Rs52,000 crore, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram said, as he asked banks to lend more money for this purpose, reports PTI.


Chidambaram also asserted that his ministry was committed to the education loan programme of the banks. "Around 24 lakh students in India have borrowed loan for education and the outstanding amount with the banks is about Rs52,000 crore," he said.


Chidambaram was speaking at a function after formally inaugurating the Indian School of Business (ISB) campus.


The banks had Rs27,000 crore outstanding on education loans as of March 2009, Rs35,850 crore as of March 2010 and Rs41,340 crore such loans as of March 2011, as per the data from the Reserve Bank.


Urging the young talent to contribute in building India, Chidambaram asked those who have spent some years abroad to return and help meet challenges faced by their own country.


"After 11, 12 months your (students) temptation is to migrate to US or elsewhere in the is a legitimate desire...Indian human resources will find opportunities all over the world...seize these opprtunities...spend few years...but please remember that there is no other place in the world which can challenge you (students) like India."


"Spend a few years wherever you feel whether in US, Europe, Latin America, East Asia or Africa, but please remember it is only India and no other place that can challenge you (students)," he said.


He asked the young talent to ask themselves a few questions as to in which other country of the world does one need to add 1,00,000 MW of power, construct thousands of kms of roads, bring drinking water and sanitation to over 700 million of people.


"The greatest challenge is to build India," he said referring to the brain drain.


"At some stage or the other return back and help build India...challenge is not only in business but elsewhere too," he said.


He also expressed concern over "limited world class institutions" in the country.


"We have one institution of world class in Science, a couple in engineering and technology, one in Mathematics and one in international studies," he said, adding that the country need to build world class institutions.


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