The city and canton of Geneva could claw back CHF125 million ($136 million) in alleged unpaid taxes from Prakash Hinduja who is accused of falsely claiming residency in Monaco.
On Wednesday newspaper 24 heures revealed that the Federal Court had fixed CHF125 million as the sum the Swiss billionaire of Indian origin will need to pay as financial collateral. The 76-year-old is accused of falsely claiming residency in Monaco to avoid paying Swiss taxes when he was allegedly living in Cologny, a Geneva suburb, with his family.
According to 24 heures, an investigation in 2018 into household staff mistreatment and underpayment alerted the prosecutor to his residency status. His home was searched, and documents and computers were seized. It is estimated that Hinduja evaded taxes on CHF19 million in income and at least CHF1 billion in assets between 2009 and 2017.
The CHF125 million security ordered by the Federal Court is much less than what the tax authorities wanted because offences for the years 2009 and 2010 are time-barred. Back taxes, interest and other fines are estimated at CHF154 million in municipal and cantonal taxes and CHF3.4 million in federal tax. Hinduja wanted the fines to be excluded from the estimate and offered CHF70 million as collateral. The offer was rejected by the court. The case is now on hold pending the progress of the criminal investigation and the presumption of innocence applies.
Forbes ranks the Hinduja family – Prakash and his three brothers Srichand, Gopichand and Ashok – as the 133rd-richest in the world with a combined fortune estimated at $15.3 billion. They are currently embroiled in a legal dispute over the ownership of the Hinduja bank in Geneva.
Prakash Hinduja acquired Swiss citizenship in 2000 along with his wife. His three children are also Swiss citizens. The Hinduja Group employs around 70,000 people worldwide in diverse sectors like banking and finance, transport, energy, technology, media and telecommunications.
Source: Swiss Info