No Claimants For Dormant Rs 300 Crore Lying In Swiss Bank Linked To Indian Accounts
No Indian Swiss bank account holder has come forward to claim Rs 300 crore lying latent in around 10 Swiss bank accounts linked to Indians, leaving the funds at the risk of getting transferred to Switzerland government.
In 2015, the Swiss government released details of the dormant accounts to allow their claimants to submit necessary proofs to get access to the funds, which included around a dozen accounts linked to Indians.
However, in the last six years, no Indian resident has sought the funds, as per the records available with the Swiss bank authorities.
The claiming period of some of these accounts is likely to expire next month, while a few of them can still be claimed by 2020.
However, after the government released details of the dormant accounts of the Swiss bank, tycoons and moguls across the globe, including some Pakistani residents, and residents from other countries including Switzerland itself have come forward to claim the funds.
According to the list, there were around 2,600 latent accounts by December 2015, when the government first released the data related to these accounts. It also showed around 45 million Swiss francs (over Rs 300 crore) lying unclaimed since 1955. However, the number of dormant accounts rose significantly in the last six year which now stands at around 3,500 accounts lying latent.
Indian Swiss bank account holders have created a hullabaloo as it is still a matter of political debate in India. They remain under suspicion of hoarding alleged black money in the opaque Swiss bank accounts.
However, under global pressure, Swiss bank had to open its banking system for frequent scrutiny to be carried by international financing organizations and had agreed to exchange information on financial matters with countries having a maximum number of Swiss bank account holders, including India.
India got its hands on the first batch of details under the automatic information exchange, a pact signed between Switzerland and India. Next such information from Swiss bank authorities will reach India in September 2020.
Meanwhile, the claims for latent accounts are managed by the Swiss Banking Ombudsman under cooperation from the Swiss Bankers Association.
As per the details revealed for India, the claimants of these dormant accounts include two persons from Kolkata, one from Dehradun, two from Mumbai and also some Non Residents of India (NRIs) settled in France and the United Kingdom.
The claim period for two such accounts — which are in the names of Leila Talukdar and Prmatha N Talukdar — would end next month on November 15, while the assets can be claimed till December this year for accounts in the names of Chandralata Pranlal Patel, Mohan Lal and Kishore Lall.
In the case of two Bombay residents — Rosmarie Bernet and Pierre Vachek — the claim period would expire next year in December 2020. Similar is the case of the account of Chandra Bahadur Singh from Dehradun and Yogesch Prabhudas Suchah, whose last recorded residence was in London.
Under the Swiss laws, a bank account is declared dormant after there is no customer contact for 60 years and subsequently the details are made public for inviting claims for all such accounts having at least 500 Swiss francs or assets of unknown value.
If they remained unclaimed, the assets will be liquidated and transferred to the Swiss government. The government also provides the accounts with a time-frame to issue a request for the claim.
The claims can be submitted by the original account owner as also by his or her legal heirs. If no request is received within the deadline, or if the bank finds the claims unjustified, the bank needs to hand over the assets to the Federal Finance Administration of Switzerland, thus making all rights of former customers null and void.