Switzerland to Share Indians’ Bank Account Details with New Delhi – Report

A Swiss flag flutters on March 4, 2018 in Crans-Montana above the Rhone valley in the Swiss canton of Valais, location of Sion, a city of some 34,000 souls bidding to host the 2026 Winter Olympic Games. - The official race to succeed 2018 hosts Pyeongchang, and Beijing in 2022 begins in March when would be candidates file "letters of intention" to the International Olympic Committee. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

New Delhi (Sputnik): The government of Switzerland has agreed to give India the Swiss bank details of all Indians starting in September, giving a major boost to New Delhi’s ongoing fight against suspected black money parked abroad.

These details will be shared by Switzerland and India under their existing Automatic Exchange of Information mechanism, the Indian business daily, The Economic Timesquoted India’s Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedhran as saying in the country’s Parliament.

According to the report, under the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) framework, Switzerland will share account numbers, credit balances, and other forms of financial income of each Indian client who has an account in any Swiss financial institution.

News of Switzerland and India agreeing to tighten their tax-related engagements was welcomed on social media as a step in the right direction.

According to Switzerland’s Federal Department of Finance (FDF), under the AEOI framework, detailed financial information on all Indian residents with an account in a Swiss financial institution will be shared with tax authorities in India. It also said that for the first time it would be providing details of persons who had opened accounts in 2018. Thereafter, further details would be provided on a yearly basis.

Minister Muraleedhran informed MPs on Wednesday that Switzerland has already shared the financial details of nearly 100 Indian entities, including individuals and enterprises after receiving prima facie evidence of financial wrongdoing from the tax authorities in New Delhi. This action had been taken under a bilateral pact for administrative assistance on tax matters.

Currently, the tax treaty between India and Switzerland allows for receiving information related to cases under investigation on per request basis.

The minister, however, ruled out the disclosure of names of persons guilty of financial irregularities, saying such information is governed by confidentiality provisions.

The FDF has said that Switzerland is committed to contributing to the integrity of the international financial system and to ensuring a level playing field.

Many Indian citizens are said to have closed their accounts after a global crackdown on black money led to Switzerland to open up its banking sector for scrutiny as there is a long-held perception that Swiss banks have been safe havens for undisclosed funds.

Switzerland agreed to begin the automatic information exchange with India after a months-long process, including framing of new laws and passage in their Parliament and review of the necessary legal framework in India on data protection and confidentiality.



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