Stepping Up Process To Share Banking Info, Switzerland Sends Notices To 11 Indians In A Day
Switzerland is now striving hard to re-establish its global financial centre position after it clamped down on secrecy walls of its banks.
There has been a surge in the number of cases where a process to share information was initiated by Switzerland on Indians with Swiss bank accounts. Last week, it sent letters to about a dozen such individuals.
Notices Issued To Indian Nationals
Since March, Swiss authorities have issued at least 25 notices to Indian clients of Switzerland-based banks. The notices gave them a last chance to appeal against sharing of their details with India.
The notices issued by the Federal Tax Administration, when analysed, revealed that in recent months, the Swiss government has increased its efforts in sharing such details with several countries.
In the past few weeks, the surge in India-related cases has been noticeable.
At least 11 such notices were issued on May 21 itself to Indian nationals. Full names of several of them have been redacted by the gazette notifications of the Swiss government, making public only their initials, dates of birth and nationality.
The notices have asked individuals or their authorised representatives to file their appeals within 30 days with documentary proof to support their case against providing India with ‘administrative assistance’. This, however, broadly refers to the sharing of their banking and other financial details.
On May 7, a similar notice was issued to another Indian national, Ratan Singh Chowdhury. He was asked to appeal within ten days.
On the other hand, Mr R P N, another Indian national, was given 30 days on May 14. Some of these notices were issued to people in April too.
Reportedly, many of these names figured in the leaked HSBC lists and Panama papers, which contained names of Indians with Swiss bank accounts. This is now being probed by Indian authorities in alleged black money cases.
In March, such notices were issued to Mumbai-based Geodesic Ltd and its three directors (Prashant Sharad Mulekar, Pankajkumar Onkar Srivastava and Kiran Kulkarni), and also to Chennai-based Aadhi Enterprises Pvt Ltd. They are now being probed for allegedly laundering money and some other financial irregularities.
India Seeks Details Of Suspected Black Money Hoarders
Making use of this change in the stance of Switzerland, India, among other countries, has sought details of suspected black money hoarders in Swiss banks. In the last few years, it has already received information on a huge number of cases.
According to Swiss law, if the appellant can give enough ground to challenge it, the FTA decision can be appealed within 30 days or 10 days in certain cases.
The documents of the Swiss government did not disclose too many details on the information and assistance sought by the Indian authorities regarding these individuals and Indian companies, but an ‘administrative assistance’ like this basically means sharing information related to bank account details and various other financial data.
Authorities have put up a new framework of automatic information exchange, and under the system, details can be accessed from this year, a report by Business Today said.
Switzerland’s State Secretariat for International Finance said that the global standard for the automatic exchange of information (AEOI) on financial accounts will expectedly prevent cross-border tax evasion and increase the transparency.
Under the global standard, states and territories that have agreed to the AEOI can engage in a mutual exchange of information on financial accounts. Expectedly, this standard will be adopted by over 100 states and territories, including major financial centres.
Before it bowed down to the global pressure and broke its secrecy walls Swiss bank was known as a safe haven for black money.