Finance Ministry refutes reports of whopping Rs 20,700 cr rise in 'black money' held by Indians in Swiss Banks
In an official release, the Finance Ministry stated that the figures did not indicate the 'quantum of the black money' held by Indians, stating that the biggest increase had been cited under 'Other amounts due from customers'-- which refers to bonds, securities, and various other financial instruments.
After reports quoted a Rs 20,700 crore rise of Indian funds in Swiss banks, the Ministry of Finance on Friday responded to the news, refuting the alleged rise of black money held by Indians in Switzerland.
Certain reports suggested that funds of Indians in Swiss Banks have risen 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, reversing a 2 year declining trend.
The reports further stated that the sum deposited by Indians in Switzerland has risen to the highest level in last 13 years.
"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," the Finance Ministry said in a statement.
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, it added.
It also stated that exchanges of Financial Account information in respect of residents of each country have taken place between both countries in 2019 and 2020 and in view of the information exchanged, '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'.
The Centre has asked the Swiss Authorities to provide the relevant facts along with their view on possible reasons for increase/decrease in Indian funds as cited by the news reports.
The government has issued clarifications in wake of widely held position that it has curbed generation of black money in the economy or unaccounted funds of Indians stashed abroad. The fresh tax agreements reached between India and certain perceived tax havens has introduced certain instruments to prevent round tripping of funds and generation of black money.
It is pertinent to point out that India and Switzerland are signatories to the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (MAAC) and both countries have also signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) pursuant to which, the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) is activated between the two countries for sharing of financial account information annually for calendar year 2018 onwards.
On Thursday PTI reported that funds parked by Indian individuals and firms in Swiss banks had risen to 2.55 billion Swiss francs (over Rs 20,700 crore) in 2020 on a sharp surge in holdings via securities and similar instruments. Citing the annual data from Switzerland's central bank, the report stated that while customer deposits fell, there was an increase in aggregate funds of Indian clients with Swiss banks. According to PTI, the rise in Indian funds from 899 million Swiss francs (Rs 6,625 crore) at the end of 2019, reverses a two-year declining trend and has taken the figure to the highest level in 13 years.
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