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Indian American doctor charged with hiding India accounts

An Indian American neurosurgeon has been re-indicted by a US grand jury on new charges that he failed to declare an HSBC bank account in India valued in 2009 at $8.7 million.

Arvind Ahuja was indicted again Wednesday by a federal grand jury in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he was initially charged June 28 with wilfully filing materially false tax returns and four counts of failing to file Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts.

The court has added the charges of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Dan Webb of Winston and Strawn, Chicago, the attorney representing Ahuja, said the government's allegations are "far off-base," and he will continue to present a vigorous, fact-based defence.

"Dr. Ahuja is innocent of these allegations, and we remain confident that a jury will acquit him of all charges, including the charges announced today," Webb said.

According to the superseding indictment, Ahuja wire transferred and maintained millions of dollars in bank accounts in India and the Bailiwick of Jersey at The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd. (HSBC).

In 2009, the HSBC bank account in India had a balance of $8.7 million. The superseding indictment alleges that Ahuja
failed to report these bank accounts to the IRS on his 2006-2009 tax returns.

The indictment further alleges that Ahuja failed to report more than $1.2 million in interest income that he earned from his HSBC India account and failed to pay the taxes due on that income.

The new indictment also alleges Ahuja conspired with HSBC bankers who worked at an HSBC India office in New York to conceal from the IRS the existence, ownership and income derived from his undeclared bank accounts at HSBC India and HSBC Jersey.

Ahuja faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for the conspiracy charge and a $250,000 fine. Each false tax return charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The failure to report his foreign bank account charges each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

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