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Black money: Government amends FEMA; strengthens punishments to speed-up recovery

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

With an aim to nab black money stashed abroad, the government has amended the  Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), strengthening punishments for violators.

The amended FEMA allows for confiscation of domestic property of offenders and imposes a punishment of up to five years for the defaulters.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made the changes to this effect in the Finance Bill, 2015 passed by Lok Sabha yesterday.

Jaitley said the new law is to deal with the black money issue stashed abroad and not to harass anyone.

The Bill will now be taken up by the Rajya Sabha.

The new clause inserted in FEMA, says that a person having assets abroad in contravention of law will be liable to a penalty up to three times the sum involved.  There is also a stipulation which states that in addition to the penalty, the offence will be “punishable with imprisonment for a term which extends to five years with fine”.

Further more, the new provision also says Enforcement Directorate can authorise prosecution of the offenders after recording reasons in writing.

A few days ago, the government had introduced a stringent Bill in the Lok Sabha to deal with the menace of black money stashed abroad.

Besides other things, the law provides for imprisonment of up to ten years for hiding foreign assets.

In order to fast-track the recovery of black money, the Bill proposes a one-time compliance opportunity for all those who have stashed black money abroad.

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