The Union government has finally succeeded in getting full information about black money of India stashed in Swiss banks. Under the new automatic information exchange agreement, Swiss Bank has handed over to India the first list of its account holders. This may prove a milestone in the Narendra Modi government’s fight against black money stashed abroad.
A spokesman for the federal tax administration said that India was among 75 countries with which Switzerland’s FTA (Federal Tax Administration) exchanged financial accounts’ information within the framework of global standards. Switzerland has said that, after this, the next tranche of information about bank accounts will be given in September 2020.
This is the first time India has received the names of bank account holders from Swiss authorities under the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) framework. Under this framework, India will be informed also about the accounts that are currently active. The document will contain information also on such accounts that were closed during the year 2018.
The exchange of information is a matter of strict confidentiality. FTA officials have refused to provide specific information about the number of accounts linked to India in Swiss banks or the monetary worth of financial assets associated with Indian customers. The AEOI deals only with accounts that are officially in the names of Indians.
In total, the FTA has so far shared the information of 31 lakh accounts with the different countries involved in the agreement while Switzerland has received information of about 24 lakh accounts from these countries.
The information exchanged includes identification, account, financial information, names, addresses and tax identification numbers. Along with this, information related to financial institutions, amounts held in the accounts and capital income is included. The Swiss government said in a separate statement that the number of countries with which automated information exchange has taken place is 75 this year.
On 8 September, it was reported that there were at least 100 old accounts of Indians that had been closed before 2018. Switzerland was then in the process of sharing information on these accounts. These accounts are related to people involved in the businesses of auto components, chemicals, textiles, real estate, diamond, jewellery, steel, etc.
Regulatory officials had said last month that, in the analysis of information received from Swiss banks, special attention was being paid to the information related to people having political contacts.