$770 billion black money entered India in 2005-2014: Report by Global Financial Integrity

NEW DELHI: An estimated US$ 770 billion in black money entered India while US$ 165 billion exited the country during 2005-2014, US-based think tank Global Financial Integrity (GFI) has said in its latest report.

During 2014 alone, the inflow of black money was about US$ 101 billion while the outflow was US$ 23 billion, it said. Titled ‘Illicit Financial Flows to and from Developing Countries: 2005-2014’, the report released Monday is the first global study to place equal emphasis on illicit outflows and inflows. The findings assume significance as India has no official assessment on the quantum of black money in the country and abroad.

The illicit financial inflow of US$ 770 billion was 14 per cent of India’s total trade of US$ 5,500,744 million (US$ 5,500 billion), GFI said.

It pegged the inflow of black money at three per cent (about US$ 165 billion) of the country’s total trade during the 10-year period. The volume of global illicit flows is staggering, ranging between US$ 2 trillion and US$ 3.5 trillion in 2014, the report said. “Estimated illicit outflows from developing countries to the advanced world alone sum up to US$ 620 billion in 2014 in the most conservative calculation and illicit inflows from the advanced countries into the developing world totalled more than US$ 2.5 trillion.”

From Asia, the study estimated financial inflows to developing countries from a minimum of US$ 686 billion to a maximum of US$ 1,229 billion. One dominant channel for illicit financial flow (IFF) moving in and out of the developing world is trade mis- invoicing, it said, adding that trade mis-invoicing accounted for at least 66 per cent of measurable IFF outflows and 97 per cent of measurable inflows in 2014. Trade mis-invoicing is a form of trade-based money laundering made possible by the fact that trading partners write their own trade documents or arrange to have the documents prepared in a third country (typically a tax haven), a method known as re-invoicing.

“Fraudulent manipulation of the price, quantity, or quality of a good or service on an invoice allows criminals, corrupt government officials, and commercial tax evaders to shift vast amounts of money across international borders quickly, easily, and nearly always undetected,” the report said. Illicit financial flows from developing and emerging economies kept pace at nearly US$ one trillion in 2014.

Suggesting steps to check black money, the financial watchdog said governments should establish public registries of verified beneficial ownership information on all legal entities to check black money.

“All banks should know the true beneficial owner(s) of any account in their financial institution.” Policymakers should require multinational companies to publicly disclose their revenues, profits, losses, sales, taxes paid, subsidiaries, and staff levels on a country-by- country basis, it said.