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Switzerland Not Sharing Info on Accounts of Indians
Apr 01, 2014

Facing flak for delay in bringing back black money stashed abroad, finance minister P. Chidambaram has warned Switzerland that India would drag it to global platforms such as the G-20 if it does not cooperate to India’s requests for information sharing.

India had sought information on some HSBC accounts, on the basis of data obtained from the French government. However, the Swiss authorities, in a letter have said they were closing the request made by India in 562 cases. Switzerland has so far refused to share the information on the grounds that the source of information requested is based on stolen data.

The Government of India is seriously concerned that some Indian tax-payers may have parked substantial unaccounted income and assets in offshore jurisdictions, and it expects cooperation from those jurisdictions to deal with them effectively. India is pressing for immediate redressal of the Swiss data because investigation in some of the cases would statutorily become time-barred on March 31 if the relevant information does not arrive by then.

The Indian finance minister threatened that India might examine further steps like declaring Switzerland a non-cooperative jurisdiction if it continues to block its requests. Switzerland’s refusal to provide information to India and other countries on the grounds that the source of the information requested is based on ‘stolen data’ means that, in practice, Switzerland still believes in bank secrecy and is therefore not in tune with the modern era. India can designate Switzerland as a notified jurisdictional area under section 94A of the Income Tax Act, 1961, for the denial of request for information on Indians who have parked alleged illegal money in foreign accounts.

In response, Switzerland has said it would soon respond to the questions that raised concerns about not providing information on alleged unaccounted money.


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