Saturday, Oct 25, 2014

Black money: ‘Swiss drawing up list of Indians’

The official dismissed the claims that black money stashed in Swiss banks by Indians could be trillions of dollar. (Source: PTI) The official dismissed the claims that black money stashed in Swiss banks by Indians could be trillions of dollar. (Source: PTI)
Press Trust of India | Zurich/new Delhi | Posted: June 22, 2014 3:10 pm | Updated: June 23, 2014 9:13 am

Switzerland has prepared a list of Indians suspected to have stashed black money in Swiss banks and the details are being shared with the Indian government, according to a senior Swiss government official.

The names of these Indian individuals and entities have come under scanner of the Swiss authorities during an ongoing exercise to identify real beneficiary owners of funds held in various banks operating in Switzerland, the official said.

“These individuals and entities are suspected to have held un-taxed money in Swiss banks through structures like trusts, domiciliary companies and other legal entities based out of countries other than India,” the official, who did not want to be named, told PTI. He refused to divulge the identities of these persons and entities, as also the amount of money they had in banks, citing confidentiality clause of the information exchange treaty between the two countries.

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The official said Swiss authorities were very keen to work with the new government in India and they would also provide all necessary support to the newly set up Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money. He, however, dismissed claims that black money stashed in Swiss banks by Indians could be trillions of dollars, as the latest Swiss National Bank data pegs the total foreign client money across 283 banks in Switzerland at US $1.6 trillion.

When asked about rise in Indian exposure to Swiss banks at 2.03 billion Swiss francs (Rs 14,000 crore), he said these are the funds held by clients who have declared themselves as Indian and therefore were unlikely to be ill-gotten wealth.

The senior official further said the details are being shared with India on a ‘spontaneous’ basis and are different from the information sought earlier by the Indian authorities on the basis of ‘leaked’ or ‘stolen’ lists of certain banks, including the so-called ‘HSBC list’.

The Swiss government has been refusing to share details about the Indians named in this ‘HSBC list’, which was stolen by a bank employee and later found its way to tax authorities in various countries, including India. Despite repeated requests from India, Switzerland has said its local laws prohibit administrative assistance in matters where information has been sourced illegally, including through stolen lists.

The said ‘HSBC list’ allegedly contains names of Indians and other foreign nationals having black money in the Swiss unit of the global banking major.

India is one of the 36 countries with which Switzerland has signed treaties to provide administrative assistance in tax matters in accordance with international continued…

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