Banking
HSBC’s behaviour in India is questionable, says activist-investor Michael Mason-Mahon

UK-based Michael Mason-Mahon, who is helping bank customers to resolve their grievances, says he has been shocked and disgusted by the behaviour of HSBC towards their customers in India. Here are the excerpts from his interview to Moneylife

UK-based Michael Mason-Mahon is small private shareholder of Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd (HSBC). Over the past four-five years, he has been helping people across the globe to resolve their grievances against HSBC. Recently, he visited India to meet and help resolve complaints of several customers of HSBC. He also had meetings with officials from the Finance Ministry and Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which according to him were “not too encouraging” as everybody tried to re-direct him to someone else and nobody was willing to act or take responsibility for HSBC's actions.
 

In an interview to Moneylife’s Yogesh Sapkale, Mr Mason-Mahon raised several questions on HSBC’s operations in India.
 

Here are the excerpts from the interview…
 

Yogesh Sapkale (ML): You hold a small stake in HSBC and have been keeping the ‘shareholder spring’ alive by questioning management during shareholder meetings. What is your view about the operations and behaviour of HSBC bank, which is fifth largest lender in the world?
 

Michael Mason-Mahon (MM): Douglas Jardine Flint, Group Chairman of HSBC Holdings Plc often states how important HSBC’s reputation is. Similarly, Stuart Gulliver, its chief executive, talks about HSBC’s values and staff acting with courageous integrity, empowering staff to do the right thing. The same lender was fined by both the US and UK regulators for breaking several laws against doing business in Syria and Iran and also with drug cartels from Mexico.
 

Last year, HSBC paid out $4.2 billion to cover cost of its past wrongdoing. This includes, $1.92 billion fine in the US for allowing itself to be used to launder a river of drug money flowing out of Mexico and other banking lapses. As per the US Justice Department, Mexico's Sinaloa cartel and Colombia's Norte del Valle cartel between them laundered $881 million through HSBC and a Mexican unit.
 

And yet, despite all the ‘dodgy dealings’, HSBC rewarded its top executives. Its top 16 executives were paid $4.9 million each. And Mr Gulliver ‘proudly’ says the bank’s performance had been strong enough to allow it to increase dividends by 10%.
 

But this is not limited to large customers or corporate clients. Even small customers are facing several issues with HSBC. Just a simple search on the Internet will show you thousands of complaints about HSBC and its behaviour. Especially, several people from India have complained about being threatened, intimidated and blackmailed by the staff. Some customers, who never received any statement for their credit cards are being asked to pay huge money and are being threatened with credit bureau like CIBIL reporting. Some customers are falsely reported to CIBIL for failing to comply with the rules and regulations. Some customers are even being asked to sign blank letters of instructions (LOIs). All this is violating people’s rights and violating the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
 

ML: You have been raising several grievances related with HSBC and helping customers who feel cheated by the Bank. How and when did you start doing this?
 

MM: I started helping people in April 2010. A friend of mine from India asked me to help a client, and I did. I worked on the case, I spoke to the person. I was shocked when I was told to investigate. I went on to the Indian Consumer Forum site and found that this was not a lone case. Several people contacted me for help. I did my best to help these people and within about three months, I managed to get results in 13 cases. The results were to the satisfaction of these customers and not HSBC's satisfaction.
 

ML: US Senate investigation report says, HSBC provided a, "gateway for terrorists to gain access to US dollars and the US financial system". Is this, according to you limited to the US or spread in other countries as well?
 

MM: HSBC has stated categorically that they will always keep high standards and follow rules and regulations in any country they operate. Personally, I can honestly say, it is the standard line that is issued time and time again that has no reality in it. Because, in reality as we have seen around the globe that this organisation been penalised by authorities, regulators. So this statement ‘HSBC complies with rules and regulations’ is a myth.
 

I have reported several misdeeds of HSBC to its Board of Directors, especially threatening behaviour of its staff, illegally registering people with credit bureau, taking out money from account without the customer’s permission and so on. I have been shocked and disgusted by the behaviour of HSBC in India towards their customers in India. Even Mr Flint, the group’s chairman has ignored customers who have contacted him directly concerning their serious problems with HSBC India and referred their complaints back to India.
 

ML: You have questioned the behaviour of HSBC with its chairman and board of directors at AGMs in the past? What was the reply you received?
 

MM: In one simple word, B****hit. I asked the chairman of HSBC to tell me the truth during the AGMs in 2011 and 2012. Mr Flint’s response was to provide false and misleading information to the shareholders at the AGMs. Especially responding to issues faced by Indian customers, Mr Flint feigned ignorance!
 

Is this man ignorant about the rules and regulations in India or are we talking about the chairman of the fifth largest bank in the world? How ignorant can you be? This is the same man who had ignored customers who contacted him directly concerning their serious problems with HSBC India and referred their complaints back to India.
 

ML: One of the major allegations against HSBC is the fraud in its credit card business, especially in India. Can you explain it in detail?
 

MM: Yes. There are two sides of this story. People who have credit cards with HSBC and I am not saying that all customers of HSBC are cheated. But there is percentage of them.

It started many years ago, when HSBC wanted to expand its credit card operations here in India and had two and half million credit card holders in a short span of time. At that time, HSBC did not have that many branches, may be they had 40-50 branches then. So the only way they could have so many credit card customers was through direct sales agents (DSAs). And it is here, when HSBC’s series of problems became a critical problem. It was serious as well as critical because people who have been misled, people who have been deceived started complaining. However, majority of these complaints were ignored. There are complainants I do not only know personally, but I have read the stories and contacted them, or I find them on the internet.
 

Many credit card holders have stated they never received statements for up to six years. When they contacted, HSBC demanded that they should pay first else there would be penalty charges, or the customers would find (themselves) their names as defaulter in credit bureau list.
 

Take the example of Sanjeev Kumar. He never received any credit card from HSBC bank and never received any statements for due amount or a reminder statement. And yet, on 13 August 2009, the bank deducted Rs39,093.42 from his account, leaving him and his family with zero rupees. HSBC left no money for food, no money for rent and not a single rupee in his account. HSBC Bank did return Rs11,990.13 subsequently, on 20 August 2009 to his savings account. When he wanted to close ‘his credit card’, the bank did not allow him to do so.
 

In December 2010, HSBC entered into Kumar’s account and made a credit of Rs29,780.38, without his authorisation or agreement. When Kumar refused this settlement, HSBC refused to answer him. Since December 2010, Kumar has contacted Stuart Davis, the erstwhile CEO, and Mr Milne, the then CEO of HSBC India, in addition to Mr Flint, the Group Chairman. They have all refused to answer the simple question: What legal right did HSBC have to enter into his account and deposit money without his authorisation or agreement?
 

When we sorted his case out, he turned around and said to me, thank you for giving me my life back, my family’s life back and I was so humbled by those words. And it still has effect on me today. I didn’t do anything, just helped him resolve his situation, and it was resolved by HSBC in such a way that where they just paid him interest. All along HSBC knew it’s all in the rules and regulations that he was entitled to (receive) double (compensation).
 

ML: You are coming to India regularly and helping many people here as well as you are meeting with the regulators and ministry in India about the HSBC, so what is their response?
 

MM: I tried meeting with Dr Raghuram Rajan, the Governor of the RBI, this was not possible, which I do understand. When I asked if the Governor would appoint someone else to meet with me I was told I would have to put this in writing, which I do not understand. I did comply with their request, only for the RBI to keep denying they ever received my e-mails or faxes, which I do find highly suspicious (my ISP would have stated e-mail was failed to be delivered and why would the fax machine state the fax was delivered?).
 

The only logical reason for the RBI denying they have received my e-mail and faxes, because this gives the RBI THE DENIABILITY FACTOR.
 

I also sent the same e-mail to the Secretary of Finance and they received my e-mail and they would not meet with me.
 

Not one person either in the RBI or the Ministry of Finance have shown any interest in investigating HSBC in India. Without a proper investigation HSBC may been committing illegal and criminal actions in India for many years.
 

As the records show the HSBC Group has been committing illegal and criminal behaviour around the world for many years. Why would the Indian Government refuse to investigate HSBC in India? How many tens of thousands of lives have HSBC ruined in India? How many ten thousands people have been falsely registered with CIBIL by HSBC in India?
 

If HSBC in India has been falsely registering debts against people who have never held a credit card account. If HSBC in India has been writing these debts against their tax liability's, would this mean HSBC India has been committing tax fraud in the country?

That the press in the UK do not care about the fraud been committed by the HSBC in India.
 

In one case, in 2009, Justice Appa Rao, who wrote the judgment, clearly held that there is deficiency in the service rendered by HSBC, which 'had acted against the guidelines issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Banking Codes Standards Board of India (BCSBI) in regard to the code of bank's commitment to customers'.
 

The bank not only failed to rectify its mistake but also flouted all the rules, regulations and the guidelines issued by RBI and BCSBI, the judge said and awarded the compensation to the petitioner.
 

What is the Governor of RBI doing? What is the Ministry of Finance doing? They don’t have to listen to Michel Mason Mahon? They don’t have to listen to the many tens of thousands of people’s whose lives that have been ruined by HSBC in India.
 

I did hope and think that Dr Rajan, the new Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, would order an investigation into HSBC India.
 

ML: So what’s next for you?
 

MM: I will once again go to the shareholders meeting of HSBC Holdings Plc on the 23 May 2014. This is to question the Chairman Mr Douglas Flint and the Board of Director about why is HSBC India still committing illegal and criminal behaviour in that country?

Complaints are still coming in and people still need my help.
 

Did HSBC India sell their written off credit card and personal loan debt to JM Financial and they knew there was serious problems with the data base?
 

I have to congratulate JM Financial that it was able to resolve very quickly complaint concerning. I informed JM Financial about the serious problems concerning the personal details HSBC India had supplied them with.
 

With HSBC Holdings Plc barring me from helping represent anyone in the world, even my own wife, isn't this action illegal?
 

Has Mr David Lewis the head of Customer Relations at HSBC Bank acted in an illegal manner, by stating that he was going to inform the RBI that HSBC Bank had forced me to close my accounts?
 

Did Mr Lewis also provide false information concerning my accounts in an internal e-mail?
 

Why has the Chairman Mr Flint failed to stop senior managers from committing illegal and criminal behaviour?
 

I do refer to Mr Flint's statement to the shareholders at the 2011 AGM and the 2013. At the 2011 the Chairman stated that it was an invidious irritation to be registered on CIBIL, this was totally false.
 

At the 2013 AGM, I raised a question on behalf of Sanjeev Kumar concerning HSBC India entering Mr Kumar's bank account and depositing money illegally.
 

Mr Flint the Chairman of HSBC Holdings Plc made a joke of Mr Kumar's question. Why would the Chairman trivialise Mr Kumar's question?
 

Is Mr Flint treating customers and a shareholder in India differently from customers and a shareholder in the UK?
 

I did discuss two cases with Mr Hennity part of HSBC Holdings Plc legal department two years ago and asked Mr Hennity to settle two cases, the first case was that of Ms Suchitra Krishnamoorthi.
 

So why did HSBC India settled Ms Krishnamoorthi's claim within 24 hours two years later?
 

Moneylife has helped Ms Krishnamoorthi and I do believe without Moneylife's help Ms Krishnamoorthi would never have achieved a settlement.
 

Moneylife has helped to expose the illegal and criminal behaviour of the HSBC Group in India.
 

I just being contacted by the woman in United States, because she is another victim of the HSBC Group. Is HSBC Holding Plc still committing illegal and criminal behaviour in the USA?
 

Has HSBC Holdings Plc broken the Deferred Prosecution Agreement?
 

I ask, please India, wake up and see what the HSBC Group have been doing to the citizens of India for many years.
 

Please allow me to thank Moneylife for helping me to expose what HSBC Holdings Plc has been doing in India.
 

You may also want to read...
 

The Real Story of how HSBC Was Made To Pay

 

HSBC agrees to compensate Suchitra Krishnamoorthy

 

Moneylife Impact: SEBI issues show cause notice to HSBC for cheating Suchitra Krishnamoorthi

 

HSBC loots Suchitra Krishnamoorthi after big promises of 24% returns

 

Did HSBC Bank resort to toxic churning and illegitimate transactions to earn commissions?

 

District consumer forum orders HSBC Bank to pay Rs 25,000 for deficiency in service

 

HSBC, three DSAs fined Rs50,000 by consumer forum for harassment through telemarketing

 

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COMMENTS

Ashish Bhatnagar

2 years ago

Long & multiple tales of interaction with HSBC

1. No responses to SME banking customers requests including assistance in making payments for statutory taxes to government of India

2. No action on SME business banking account closure request

3. Charges debited after more than 6 months ... and without intimation

4. Multiple excuses for non action on requests

5. On threatening them with legal action, they simply close the bank account stating "AS REQUESTED BY YOU"

TRULY, HSBC is meant only for financial frauds and not for normal business people

David BROWN

3 years ago

In February 2014 HSBC France increased my monthly fee by €10,57. They did not advise me in advance therefor I had not agreed to any extra charges. I complained and was ignored. In April 2014 I complained to the CEO of HSBC France, Mr Jean Beunardeau (jean.beunardeau@hsbc.fr )and the money was refunded without reason or apology. They further stated that my fees would remain at the previous rate (€10,57 less than the charges for February, March and April 2014). The HSBC branch at Angouleme refused to deal with me and Mr Beunardeau's representative Mr Hugo Malim (hugo.andrew.de.paula.malim@hsbc.fr ) suggested I transferred to the HSBC Premier Direct Branch in Paris with an English Account Manager. I was contacted by the assistant manager of Paris who confirmed I would get a welcome call from my new HSBC Premier Manager Mr Gavin Doughty (gavin.doughty@hsbc.fr ) and that my fees would remain at the rate of €11,63 per month. Unfortunately Mr Doughty never telephoned me and I was again charged the €10,57 supplement in May 2014 which Mr Malim refunded.

In June I was again charged the €10.57 supplement, I tried to call Premier Direct in Paris and ended up talking to a person in the Philippines. It was not possible to speak to Premier Direct in Paris making a nonsense of the move. After four hours of hassle I got the €10,57 refunded, and immediately asked to close my accounts and complained to the French Bank Regulator ORIAS (contact@orias.fr ). HSBC France refuse to confirm when they are closing my account but I have removed most of the money so it is probably irrelevant.

If HSBC France remove €10,00 per month unlawfully from each client’s account that will give them 100's of millions of Euros, but without the clients permission this is theft, as confirmed by their willingness to refund immediately when challenged but without explanation.

I have moved to SOCRAM bank (A mutual), through MACIF, who charge little in fees and give me cash back and insurance reductions giving me free banking.

Anyone else having unknown charges taken from their accounts is most probably HSBC trying, by unlawful stealth, to obtain money to pay their fines for miss-selling and Libor rigging in the UK, money laundering fines in America, and the bankers bonuses.

One wonders if banks are just criminal activities posing to be for the public good.

If anyone has similar problems I can let them have information which may help as corporate corruption and greed should be stamped out to assist our recovery from the recession.

I have copied this post to David Cameron, UK Prime Minister and Mark Carney Governor of the Bank of England as HSBC PLC are the holding company for HSBC France.




Posted on: 06/06/2014 at 17:36

david brown

3 years ago

In February 2014 HSBC France increased my monthly fee by €10,57. They did not advise me in advance therefor I had no agreed to any extra charges. I complained and was ignored. In April 2014 I complained to the CEO of HSBC France, Mr Jean Beunardeau (jean.beunardeau@hsbc.fr )and the money was refunded without reason or apology. They further stated that my fees would remain at the previous rate (€10,57 less than the charges for February, March and April 2014). The HSBC branch at Angouleme refused to deal with me and Mr Beunardeau's representative Mr Hugo Malim (hugo.andrew.de.paula.malim@hsbc.fr ) suggested I transferred to the HSBC Premier Direct Branch in Paris with an English Account Manager. I was contacted by the assistant manager of Paris who confirmed I would get a welcome call from my new HSBC Premier Manager Mr Gavin Doughty (gavin.doughty@hsbc.fr ) and that my fees would remain at the rate of €11,63 per month. Unfortunately Mr Doughty never telephoned me and I was again charged the €10,57 supplement in May 2014 which Mr Malim refunded.

In June I was again charged the €10.57 supplement, I tried to call Premier Direct in Paris and ended up talking to a person in the Philippines. It was not possible to speak to Premier Direct in Paris making a nonsense of the move. After four hours of hassle I got the €10,57 refunded, and immediately asked to close my accounts and complained to the French Bank Regulator ORIAS (contact@orias.fr ). HSBC France refuse to confirm when they are closing my account but I have removed most of the money so it is probably irrelevant.

If HSBC France remove €10,00 per month unlawfully from each client’s account that will give them 100's of millions of Euros, but without the clients permission this is theft, as confirmed by their willingness to refund immediately when challenged but without explanation.

I have moved to SOCRAM bank (A mutual), through MACIF, who charge little in fees and give me cash back and insurance reductions giving me free banking.

Anyone else having unknown charges taken from their accounts is most probably HSBC trying, by unlawful stealth, to obtain money to pay their fines for miss-selling and Libor rigging in the UK, money laundering fines in America, and the bankers bonuses.

One wonders if banks are just criminal activities posing to be for the public good.

If anyone has similar problems I can let them have information which may help as corporate corruption and greed should be stamped out to assist our recovery from the recession.

I have copied this post to David Cameron, UK Prime Minister and Mark Carney Governor of the Bank of England as HSBC PLC are the holding company for HSBC France.




Posted on: 06/06/2014 at 17:36

Michael Mason-Mahon

3 years ago

Has Mr Flint as the Chairman of HSBC Holdings Plc, been Lying to shareholders, been cheating people, been stealing people's reputation's?????

Does this make Mr Flint the Chairman of HSBC Holdings Plc, a liar, a cheat and a thief ????

Did Mr Flint the Chairman of HSBC Holdings Plc conspire with Mr David Lewis Head of Customer Relations to supply false information about me????

How has Mr Douglas Flint acted towards shareholders, is this what Mr Flint means by HSBC Value and acting with Courageous Integrity????

As a shareholder we provided evidence that Mr Flint the Chairman of HSBC Holdings Plc, did lie to shareholders at an AGM.

The following is just part of a document by Mr David (cannot tell the whole truth) Lewis (Head of Customer Relation at HSBC Bank).

The Group Chairman (Mr Douglas Flint) is aware that this decision will generate a strong reaction and that both individuals are likely to attend the AGM on 24 May. However, while we cannot exit them as shareholders, the customer relationships are not sustainable.

As both customers have been in previous contact with the regulators (FSA and Reserve Bank of India), we are writing to both the FSA and the RBI to make them aware of our decision. Group Legal and Compliance has provided guidance here.

Media Relations have been briefed.

Please let me know if you need any more information at this stage. Updates on both customers will appear in my AGM briefing, which will be circulated in May to Executives and senior management attending the AGM

Regards
Blacked out

Did Mr David (cannot tell the whole truth) Lewis, Head of customer Relation of HSBC Bank, send this out???

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jl5O-2mJD...

Michael Mason-Mahon

3 years ago

Is this how Mr Flint Chairman of HSBC Holdings Plc, allows his staff to act with Courageous Integrity and HSBC's Values by spread false and illegal information about customers?


Internal e-mail I have received from HSBC, has HSBC Holdings Plc been breaching the Data Protection Act?

From: This part has been blacked out

Sent: Tue 19 Mar 2013 16:24:10 GMT

To:This part has been blacked out

BCC: This part has been blacked out

Subject: My name, the rest has been blacked out

The names of my name and the other name has (been blacked out) will be known to you, not least for their attendance at the HSBC AGM and their strong criticisms of the Board. The Group Chairman (Mr Flint) has decided that the activities and opinion of these two are not compatible with them remaining as customers of HSBC. Therefore, we are about to commence a group wide exit of their respective accounts.

Mason-Mahon

For many years, Mason-Mahon has conducted a vitriolic campaign against the Executive and Board on a range of issues including the acquisition of Household, overseas cal centres, our operation in HSBC India (in particular the credit card and collections business), as well as Executive/Directors pay and bonuses. He owns x shares although attracts a larger number of proxy votes when attending the AGM.

Since 2006, he has raised 45 separate complaints on his UK accounts (HSBC Bank have refused to supply me with), mainly directed at our call centres.

He maintains a sole Bank account, Savings account (this is totally untrue) and credit card, all with low balances and activity (Again the person sending this information is lying).

Is this illegal and criminal behaviour by HSBC Holdings Plc? Mr Flint is this how staff act with Courageous Integrity and HSBC's Values at HSBC.

More of HSBC illegal and criminal behaviour to come?????

Michael Mason-Mahon

3 years ago

Thank you Moneylife for allowing me a venue to highlight the illegal and criminal behaviour of HSBC.

After signing the Deferred Prosecution Agreement, why is HSBC still committing illegal and criminal behaviour?

US Senator Carl Levin describes the HSBC Bank as "perversely polluted for sometime".

The Senate investigation concluded that HSBC provided a, "gateway for terrorists to gain access to U.S. dollars and the U.S. financial system."

HSBC states "HSBC takes compliance with the law, wherever it operates, very seriously.

Despite the known risks of doing business in Mexico, the bank put the country in its lowest risk category,

If the Chairman will not tell the truth, how can you expect the staff to tell the truth?

Is this betrayal by the banker and not the name of the bank, is the Judas kiss performed by the individual’s and not by the name on the door?

An outside audit by Deloitte LLP showed that 25,000 transactions totaling more than $19.4 billion involved Iran, according to the report.

How could the Chairman and the Chief Executive not know what was going on in the bank?

Did the HSBC Middle East Deputy Chairman, warned the Bank, as many as 90 percent passed through the bank’s U.S. accounts with no disclosure of ties to Iran?

HSBC states "HSBC takes compliance with the law, wherever it operates, very seriously.

What was Mr Flint doing??????????????????????????????????
Is this the same Douglas Flint as Chairman would not tell the truth to shareholders at two AGM’s?

Is this the same Douglas Flint as Chairman denied that staff in India was asking customers to sign blank Letters Of Instructions?

Is this the same Douglas Flint you can find on YouTube? HSBC Chairman Mr Flint lied to shareholders. 2) Protest against HSBC in Mumbai.

HSBC settled their case with the DOJ for $1.9 billion. The settlement is the third time in a decade that HSBC has been penalized for lax controls and ordered by U.S. authorities to improve its monitoring of suspicious transactions. Previous directives by regulators to improve oversight came in 2003 and in 2010.money.

Should Mr Flint and other Board Directors (passed and present) of HSBC Holdings Plc be barred from being a Director of any company?

Should Mr Flint and other Board Directors (passed and present) of HSBC Holdings Plc be in prison?

You may like Google: How much longer can the FM, RBI ignore HSBC in India? - Moneylife

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"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win".



connectSreekanth

3 years ago

If not Moneylife, I would have ever come to know about HSBC. Ever since I read about HSBC, I decided never to opt for any HSBC service in my life.

SuchindranathAiyerS

3 years ago

I must admit that HSBC has treated me better than SBI, Govt of India and most companies that I have made the mistake of buying a product from in India. HSBC is bad. BUT, there are worse. (I was mulcted on the Canara Bank, HSBC etc. Life plan)

Fake rupee notes of Rs5, Rs10, Rs20, Rs50 and Rs100 surfaced!

It may be shocking for readers to know that fake Indian currency notes of the Rs5, Rs10, Rs20, Rs50 and Rs100 denomination have surfaced in Bangalore! RBI Governor needs to clarify on the polymer currency notes issue and also, when the plan would be implemented

As a parting shot, Dr KC Chakravarty, the deputy governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), just before leaving office has stated, as widely reported in the media, that the introduction of "plastic" bank notes of Rs10 denomination has been (indefinitely?) delayed due to failure of the selected bidders in meeting the "required" technical specifications!

 

In addition to this, it has been stated that there is reluctance on the part of bankers to mop up such "old" notes in circulation. According to information available, as at March 2013, Rs10 notes accounted for 34% of the total bank notes aggregating to Rs7,351.50 crore ; and in value terms, the Rs10 denomination notes accounted for about 2% of the total Rs11.65 lakh crore worth of bank notes in circulation. By December end, notes in circulation increased to 7,647 crore pieces and the coins in circulation amounted to 8,991 crore pieces valued at Rs16,800 crore.

 

In the past, the counterfeit currency notes minted in Pakistan that were, and still are, being smuggled into the country covered the Rs500 and Rs1,000 denominations. Time and again, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, the lead agency in checking smuggling, have caught crores worth of these fake notes, most of which have come into India via Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Cambodia! A little later, these started coming from Gulf countries too, where a very large Indian expatriate population lives. Now, China is one more transit hub for Pakistan based operators to circulate FICNs!

 

At the moment, no body really knows how much these high value notes have come in during the election, which is still in progress. In the meantime, it may be shocking for the readers to know that fake Indian currency notes of the Rs5, Rs10, Rs20, Rs50 and Rs100 have surfaced in Bangalore!

 

Instances have been reported where the auto-drivers have "refused" to accept these notes, stating that "these are fakes". The passenger had no alternative but to tender "acceptable" notes and took the trouble to verify with the banker to authenticate the "note" only to be told that these are "fakes"!

 

It is regrettable that it was Dr Chakravarty, while on a visit to Bangalore, way back in May last year when he gave details of the polymer currency notes, selection of six towns for test marketing and spoke of one billion notes for this purpose. Anyone reading the press reports (coverage) of this visit would automatically come to the conclusion that India was making progress to introduce the polymer currency notes. Now, it looks like we are back to square one, and that, no progress has been made at all in replacing the paper currency with polymer based notes.

 

It is time that RBI governor Dr Raghuram Rajan clearly make a policy statement on this issue of polymer currency notes. It is hard to believe what Dr Chakravarty has stated in regard to the "failure" of the bidders to come up to the RBI's exacting needs! Are we to understand that ALL the bidders have failed? What is the problem in taking the issue directly with Australian Currency Board and seeking their help?

 

We need a clear-cut clarification on this issue from RBI.

 

(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)

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COMMENTS

Shanmugam

3 years ago

Sir,
RBI has to issue clear instructions to all banks that the Fake notes should not be tore by Banks. But they can report to Police or concerned authorities while giving /exchanging fake notes by the Public / Customers because they are not aware of the fake notes.

Liberal outside money groups spend big in North Carolina

Liberal spending via dark money groups and super PACs was relatively modest in 2012. But their spending has taken off this year in at least one state in the US

Most people have come to associate outside money — the hundreds of millions of dollars from politically active nonprofits and super PACs pouring into American elections — with conservatives.
 

And why not? Since the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, conservative groups have far outspent their liberal counterparts. In the 2012 federal election cycle alone, conservatives shelled out almost two and a half times the amount of outside money as liberal groups, including labor unions.

But an early look at spending on television ads in North Carolina, home to a hotly contested Senate race and a number of competitive state races, shows that liberals are asserting themselves as never before. They are spending almost as much as conservatives in the Senate race and pouring funds into state contests that conservatives haven't yet spent a cent on.
 

A ProPublica analysis of North Carolina's top three markets shows liberal groups have booked $2.8 million in ads as of Monday praising Sen. Kay Hagan, a freshman Democrat facing a tough re-election fight, or criticizing her likely opponent. That's about the same amount as conservatives have reserved in ads attacking Hagan. A coalition of liberal nonprofits has also poured more than $1.1 million into ads criticizing four Republican state senators.
 

The surge in advertising by liberal outside groups is obvious when you turn on a TV in the state, said Gary Pearce, a longtime Democratic consultant in Raleigh, N.C.
 

"It has struck me, I'd say, in the last month," he said. "It's just been a dramatic shift."
 

About 42 percent of the outside ads in the North Carolina markets — $3.1 million worth — were booked by so-called dark money groups, nonprofits that do not disclose their donors. The rest were booked by super PACs, which do name their contributors, and a liberal charity, which discloses its donors in its annual reports.
 

In the past, analysts have speculated that liberals' relative lack of outside spending reflected their discomfort with dark money groups and super PACs, both of which can raise unlimited amounts of money. Even the most prominent liberal dark money groups, such as Patriot Majority USA, spent a small portion of what conservative ones like Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity did in 2012.
 

The leading liberal super PAC in the 2012 cycle, Priorities USA Action, spent $65 million on election activity. In contrast, Restore Our Future, the leading conservative super PAC, spent more than $142 million.
 

But there's been a growing push on the left to play by the same rules as conservatives. Randy Voller, the chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party, said that while he thought the Citizens United ruling was "a colossal mistake," he didn't think that liberal outside groups had an alternative to playing by the same rules as conservatives ones.
 

"At this point, these are the rules we have," he said.
 

So far, in the 2014 cycle, groups focused on the environment have led the way for liberal dark money groups.
 

Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer has formed NextGen Climate, which plans to support legislators who push for action on climate change and attack those who don't. The organization includes a dark money nonprofit, and has said one of its aims is to counter libertarian billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, who help fund a network of dark money groups. (Steyer's wife, Kat Taylor, is a member of ProPublica's board of directors, and the couple have been significant contributors to ProPublica.) This month, two other environmental nonprofits announced they were starting a collaboration called LeadingGreen to steer donations to federal candidates and help major donors lobby elected officials.
 

For this story, we analyzed ads booked this year in Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro. Most of these ads don't tell people directly to vote for or against a candidate, so they don't have to be reported to the Federal Election Commission unless they run right before an election. But since 2012, the Federal Communications Commission has required TV stations in the country's 50 largest markets to post the ad contracts online. Our analysis only includes ads that were booked since the beginning of the year — although conservatives spent heavily in North Carolina last fall — and there's no guarantee that stations have uploaded every contract.
 

A conservative super PAC, American Crossroads, part of GOP consultant Karl Rove's outside money empire, has booked the most money in ads for those markets so far in 2014: $1.46 million. But a liberal super PAC run by former aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Majority PAC, is only a touch behind. It has booked $1.45 million in ads praising Hagan so far this year.
 

On the dark money side, three conservative groups, led by Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers' flagship dark money group, have spent almost $1.4 million on ads criticizing Hagan. One ad portrays her as being best pals with President Obama. "Tell Sen. Hagan to stop thinking about politics and start thinking about people," says another.
 

But two liberal nonprofits have more than countered in recent months, booking more than $1.3 million for ads of their own. One of them, Patriot Majority USA, has spent more than $500,000 on ads attacking a likely Hagan opponent. The other nonprofit, a charity called the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, has bought several spots praising Hagan.
 

"Who's behind the attacks on Kay Hagan? Oil industry billionaires, that's who," says one ad, making a veiled attack at the Koch brothers. "They want to undermine the air safety standards that protect us, and Sen. Kay Hagan is working to stop them."
 

The group's annual reports disclose its donors, but the 2014 report may not be available for a few years. Its most recent annual report is from 2011.
 

The liberal Southern Alliance has only run ads in North Carolina but the buy is part of a national effort by environmental organizations, said David Di Martino, a consultant for the groups. Other nonprofits have bought ads supporting Sen. Susan Collins, the moderate Maine Republican, and Democrats running for Senate seats in Iowa and Michigan. The groups are coordinating "to ensure that we're getting the most bang out of the buck," Di Martino said.
 

The North Carolina Environmental Partnership, a coalition of nine environmental groups formed last month, has reserved more than $1.1 million of ads attacking four Republican state senators — three of whom are facing close races this fall — for their support for fracking. The coalition's two largest members, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Southern Environmental Law Center, footed the bill for the ads. They do not disclose their donors.
 

While conservative dark-money groups, such as Real Jobs NC, have shoveled money into attack ads targeting North Carolina state senators in recent years, liberal groups haven't done so until now.
 

"I've never seen the liberal side of the equation do anything like this," said Brad Crone, a Democratic political and public relations consultant in Raleigh, N.C.
 

Bob Keefe, spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, wouldn't confirm how much the coalition has spent.
 

"We basically all agreed to not disclose how much we're spending," he said. "But it's a lot."
 

Although conservative groups have not booked ads in state legislature races so far, two groups — the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce and a super PAC called Justice for All NC — have also reserved ads mentioning candidates in the state Supreme Court races, almost $650,000 worth so far.

Courtesy: ProPublica.org

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