Finance Ministry refutes reports of rise in Indian money in Switzerland

New Delhi: The Finance Ministry on Saturday rejected media reports that deposits by Indians in Swiss Banks have shot up to over Rs 20,700 crore (CHF 2.55 billion) at the end of 2020, from Rs 6,625 crore (CHF 899 million) at the end of 2019.

As per the reports, this is the highest total deposits in the last 13 years.

Rubbishing the reports, the Ministry, in a statement, said, ‘Media reports allude to the fact that the figures reported are official figures reported by banks to Swiss National Bank (SNB) and do not indicate the quantum of much-debated alleged black money held by Indians in Switzerland. Further, these statistics do not include the money that Indians, NRIs or others might have in Swiss banks in the names of third-country entities.”

The customer deposits have actually fallen from the end of 2019. The funds held through fiduciaries has also more than halved from the end of 2019, it added.

The biggest increase is in “Other amounts due from customers”. These are in form of bonds, securities and various other financial instruments.

Notably, India and Switzerland are signatories to the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters and both countries have also signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement under which, the Automatic Exchange of Information is activated between the two countries for sharing of financial account information annually for the calendar year 2018 onwards.

Exchanges of Financial Account information in respect of residents of each country have taken place between both countries in 2019 as well as 2020, said the statement.

‘In view of the existing legal arrangement for exchange of information of financial accounts (which has a significant deterrent effect on tax evasion through undisclosed assets abroad), there does not appear to be any significant possibility of the increase of deposits in the Swiss banks which is out of undeclared incomes of Indian residents,” it added.

Increased business transactions by Indian companies, a hike in deposits of Indians in Swiss Bank branches in India, jump in inter-bank transactions between Swiss and Indian Banks, among others, could have resulted in the increase of deposits by Indians in Swiss bank accounts, the Ministry noted.

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