Black money issue: Swiss banks ask Indian clients for new declarations

  • Sanjib Kr Baruah, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 29, 2015 23:42 IST

In a development that will further fillip the Indian government’s war on black money, Swiss banks have asked their Indian clients — corporate entities and individuals — to provide fresh undertakings to ensure untaxed money is not stashed in their accounts.

“This will surely help the Indian effort to unearth and recover black money parked in Swiss banks. It is a sign that the Swiss banking system is improving greatly as far as transparency is concerned. It is a very encouraging development,” a top government official dealing with the black money issue told HT.

“Certain international developments like the OECD move on new global standard for the Automatic Exchange Of Information (AEOI) actually kick-started matters.”

Switzerland is on the verge of inking a global AEOI agreement for sharing of details about suspected cases of tax evasion with many countries including India that have joined an OECD convention.

On the OECD move, Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) has said that the development from the Swiss banks’ perspective, “(is) a further important step towards the implementation of international standards”.

“Swiss Banks have accepted all global standards and fully adhere to them,” Daniela Flückiger, Head of Communication, Latin World, SBA, told HT.

News agencies reported on Sunday that Swiss banks have begun to ask for fresh undertakings from their Indian customers certifying that their funds are “clean” and that all taxes have been paid on funds deposited by the clients in these bank accounts.

Traditionally, Swiss banks, because of stringent secrecy norms in the realm of client confidentiality, had been favoured as safe havens to park unaccounted funds.

The Centre set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money in May 2014 to investigate cases involving substantial unaccounted income, particularly black money stashed abroad. The SIT has already submitted two reports to the Supreme Court.

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