NEW DELHI/BERNE ;
Switzerland has shared details of accounts to India in more than 500 cases over past 1 year
INDIA figures among the top-three countries getting detailed information from Switzerland about bank accounts and beneficiary ownership of entities established by their residents in the Alpine nation, according to a study by OECD’s Global Forum on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.
In its latest peer review report on exchange of information on request, the Global Forum, which is tasked to assess the standard of exchange of information on request by various jurisdictions worldwide and their compliance, said Switzerland is rated ‘largely compliant’. India is also rated as ‘largely compliant’ by this OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) body. The Global Forum review said Switzerland has made “significant improvements in the areas of availability of legal ownership information, exchange of information on deceased persons and requests based on stolen data”.
It, however, said some challenges remain with regard to availability of beneficial ownership information and proper implementation of rights and safeguards to ensure effective exchange of information and confidentiality requirements. While the issue of alleged black money parked by Indians in Swiss banks has been a political hot potato in India for many years, Switzerland has been trying hard for a long time now to ward off a widely-prevailing perception about its financial institutions being used to hide undeclared wealth by people from various countries.
Under mounting global pressure, the famed secrecy walls surrounding Swiss banks have already crumbled over the last few years and Switzerland has been making an all-out effort to present itself as a clean global financial centre while dispelling the long-held perception of its banks being secret wealth vaults. With regard to India itself, Switzerland has shared detailed information in more than 500 cases over the past one year regarding the accounts in Swiss financial institutions of Indian individuals and enterprises suspected to have indulged in tax frauds and other financial irregularities, while the numbers increase multi-fold after taking into account such cases from across the world, officials said. In addition to such exchange of information on request and on submission of prima facie evidence about financial wrongdoings, Switzerland has entered into pacts with more than 100 countries, including India, for automatic exchange of information on tax matters.