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I-T draws blank as tax havens mum on shut accounts, defunct companies

I-T draws blank as tax havens mum on shut accounts, defunct companies

The paper trail on stash money often vanishes beyond a mountain of Panama and Pandora papers. Several tax havens like Switzerland, Jersey, Guernsey and British Virgin Islands are refusing to disclose information on investment outfits and trust structures which have been dismantled or bank accounts that have been closed - particularly, if such accounts were shut even days before the treaty with the respective jurisdiction was signed.

It's a lesson that tax officials are learning the hard way as they strive to convert intelligence into evidence.

Arrangements to ringfence hidden wealth can be complex: the investment companies may be incorporated in one country, the discretionary trust or foundations linked to them are set up in another offshore centre, the bank accounts are likely to be with an old, trusted custodian like a Swiss Bank, and the person behind everything is an Indian passport holder residing in London, New York or Dubai.

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