In the face of demands from India and other countries for banking details of persons who may have stashed black money in Swiss accounts, Switzerland has proposed new rules for combating money laundering and mandating extra due diligence by banks before accepting clients’ money.
Switzerland’s Federal Council, its top policy-making body, has proposed that these norms be put through an extensive consultation process till June 15.
The proposals come within days of Switzerland promising deepening of dialogue with India on administrative assistance and exchange of information on suspected illicit wealth stashed by Indians in Swiss banks.
At the same time, Switzerland’s finance ministry has made it clear it will not entertain banking information requests based on stolen or illegally-obtained account details.
This was in answer to requests from several countries, including India, that are in possession of account details of Swiss bank customers that were allegedly stolen or gathered through illegal means.
On financial dialogue with India, Switzerland has said “the first round got under way” in 2012 and the aim now is to deepen it.
Switzerland is often accused of being a safe haven for illicit wealth, with its tough banking secrecy laws making it difficult for foreign authorities to access details of suspect accounts.