Very recently a politician who was about to lose face parked a large amount of money in a bank at Mauritius. A confidential document to this effect goes on to show that post wiki leaks and the Swiss bank fiasco, a lot of the money transaction has shifted to banks in Mauritius. The bigger worry however is where there is black money terror always follows.
Mauritius is becoming a hot bed for illegal money and this is more to do with the fact that some of the banks over there have become extremely liberal. It all started with terror groups parking funds in benami names and now this has attracted money launders as well. A report by the International Monetary Fund too goes on to state that the Mauritius is becoming more global and hence the risk of laundering too has increased.
Indian Intelligence Bureau officials say that there is a great deal of investment that is being found in this country and it has become very difficult to track the original source of the income. People have been found to be investing money in the names of their brothers or distant relatives and hence the trail become extremely difficult unless and until there is proper assistance from the officials of that country.
Even terrorist organisations who are supported by the well established Dawood network have been investing in a great deal of property in Mauritius. Trails of these investments can also be found in countries such as Malaysia and Singapore.
Investigators have found it difficult to track the money since there is a lot of mixed funding that could be found in these countries. Investigators also do not rule out the nexus between some terror groups and politicians who have used these countries as a safe parking ground for their funds. There is a need to thoroughly investigate these cases and also bifurcate between the two forms of money that is being parked over here.
The Indian IB says that there is a need to scrutinise the banks or financial institutions in particular since these can lead us up to the trail. They have become extremely liberal in nature and according to the confidential document these institutions have been offering various sops so that parking the money becomes extremely easy. Interest rates of over 20 per cent, very little questioning and documentation have made parking of illegal money very easy. Moreover they are favouring investments from non residents and there is no proper track record of those who have been laundering the money in case the need for proper documentation to track the trail arises.
For the Intelligence Bureau the bigger headache has however been the parking of terror funds in these countries. There is a steep increase of funds in the past couple of years and it is going un noticed by the government over there. The international community has not yet woken up to this grave issue like how they have done in the case of the Swiss bank and until there is a proper awareness the issue is likely to remain unresolved for many years.
While India claims that it needs to support of the international community in resolving this menace, the rest of the world feels that a lot of money that is being pumped into this country is done through the underworld and the drug cartel operating out of India. The international community states that the money that is being raised through these operations is used directly to fund terror. The hawala remittance where India is concerned has been notorious in Kerala. However there are trails to show that such money is also being pumped into Mauritius as they find it to be safer over there.
There are various reports which show that in the past three years the hawala transactions into these countries pumped in by the Underworld/drug cartel and kin of politicians amounts to nearly Rs 2000 crore. All this money according to the report was initially shown as an investment from India, but mysteriously vanished once it reached these tax havens.
The Indian Intelligence Bureau says that there is a clear bifurcation in the manner in which these terror groups have been working. They have undoubtedly been using these tax havens to park their funds, but have ensured that none of their modules have been operating out of these places. It is a deliberate ploy on their part since they too are aware that they cannot afford to have so much heat in one particular country.
A group such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba has very safely installed its modules in countries such as Nepal and Maldives and they use the funds from these tax havens to carry forth their activitiy. In fact in a country such as Maldives they have managed to stake a control over the 300 odd isolated islands and their bases are being set up at a very quick pace. It is still a virgin module in Maldives and they would only use it against India when the time comes. These modules are building up slowly and today they have over a 1000 operatives at their disposal.
The worry is that they are facing no problem when raising of funds is concerned. Earlier the money raised through the drug trade and also counterfeiting was in circulation within India. However with the noose a bit tight today they have begun parking their money in these tax havens, which is surely a cause for concern for India.
India has its task cut out since any form of such activity does tend to affect us first. It is a constant cat and mouse game and there is a need to be alert at all times since terror groups have been adopting newer methods all the time. Moreover to make matters worse some of the politicians too have been using these tax havens and this gives them automatic protection since the policy to track such money becomes weak thanks to the high profile personalities involved in this money laundering racket.