The names of some of India’s biggest industrialists have appeared in a leaked list of HSBC Swiss bank account holders—and it has renewed conversation about the country’s black money problem.
The list named 1,195 Indians holding a total of Rs25,465.28 crore ($4.1 billion) in HSBC’s account in Zurich, according to documents released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Indian Express newspaper.
Bringing back black money to India was one of the promises made by prime minister Narendra Modi during his election campaign, and he even offered to distribute that wealth to the poor. After eight months in power, his government has been unable to do much about the money stashed away in Swiss bank accounts.
But contrary to perception—Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party estimated that Rs85 lakh crore ($1.36 trillion) of Indian wealth is held in black money accounts—Indians aren’t among the biggest account holders at HSBC’s Zurich outpost. The Swiss and the French are.
These three charts capture the import of today’s revelations.