The Enforcement Directorate has helped plow back assets worth $180 billion to public sector banks that suffered losses of around $272 billion due to frauds committed by high-net-worth individuals, union minister Jitendra Singh has said.

Singh told this to media during the 1st anti-corruption working group meeting of G-20 nations held in Gurugram, Haryana, on Wednesday.

He urged the G-20 nations to adopt multilateral action for faster extradition of fugitive economic personnel and recovery of assets.

“Economic offences have been a problem faced by many, especially when the offenders flee from the jurisdiction of the country. India has put in place a specialized legislation, in the form of Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018, the term wherein ‘fugitive economic offender’ (“FEO”) is defined as an individual against whom a warrant of arrest in relation to Scheduled Offence has been issued by any court in India and left the country to avoid criminal prosecution; or the FEO abroad, refuses to return to face criminal prosecution,” stated the minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology. He was co-charging the meeting with Italy.

The Minister said, there have been numerous instances of financial or banking frauds that were investigated against high net worth individuals where the proceeds of crime involved were more than $1 billion.

India’s view, Singh informed the gathering of representatives of G-20 nations, is that strengthening of mechanisms for speedy confiscation of the proceeds of crime, both at home and abroad, will force the offenders to return to their home country. He stressed that this will allow for an effective investigation and speedy trial, helping the banks and financial institutions and tax authorities to achieve recovery from committed defaults while eliminating the possibility of further misuse of these funds.

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