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Govt to ask Switzerland for details of black-money accounts of Indians

New Delhi, Jun 23 (PTI): The government will write to Switzerland seeking details of Indians having unaccounted money in Swiss banks, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday.

The Swiss government had been refusing to share details about the Indians named in the so-called 'HSBC list' of foreign nationals with unaccounted money stashed in Swiss accounts. A bank employee had leaked the list, which found its way to tax authorities in various countries.

The minister's remark comes a day after a Swiss government official told PTI that will share with India the names of certain persons and entities who have come under scanner of Swiss authorities.

Jaitley said his ministry is yet to receive official communication in this regard.

”We are today writing ourselves to the Swiss authorities with whom the ministry has been in touch so that details with regard to whatever information the authorities have can be expedited and the cooperation between the Swiss authorities and the government of India can bring fruitful results. Our communication will be sent today itself,” Jaitley said here.

He was referring to the issue of Indians allegedly stashing unaccounted money in Swiss banks.

”News has appeared in various sections of the media quoting Swiss authorities that they are willing to actively cooperate with the government of India in giving details about Indians who hold bank accounts in the Swiss banking system,” he said.

According to the latest data published by Switzerland's central bank SNB, Indian money in various Swiss banks rose by 43 per cent during 2013 to close to Rs 14,000 crore, including the money held directly by Indian clients and those through fiduciaries or wealth managers.

The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on its first day in office, had set up a special investigative team to unearth black money.

The SIT, chaired by former judge M.B. Shah, had its first meeting on June 2.

The other members of the team are Arijit Pasayat, another retired Supreme Court judge, who is the vice-chairman, the revenue secretary, the directors of the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Intelligence Bureau, the Research & Analysis Wing, the Enforcement Directorate, the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, and a deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

The panel has jurisdiction in cases where investigations have begun or are waiting to be initiated or have been completed.

So far, despite repeated requests from India, Switzerland had maintained that its local laws prohibit administrative assistance in matters where information has been sourced illegally, including through stolen lists.

The 'HSBC list' allegedly contains names of Indians and other foreign nationals having ill-gotten wealth in the Swiss unit of the global banking major.

India is one of the 36 countries with which Switzerland has signed treaties to provide administrative assistance in tax matters in accordance with international standards.


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