After Switzerland Names 7 Indians, More Expected, Say Officials
Bern, Switzerland: As India tries to uncover who has stashed untaxed money abroad, Switzerland is, in an unusual deviation from its super-secretive banking rules, releasing the names of people who are being investigated for alleged tax evasion in their countries of origin.
Among the seven Indians named so far by Swiss tax officials is industrialist Yash Birla. The 48-year-old’s firm said last night that Mr Birla has no “individual bank account in his name or under his control” in Switzerland.
Those being listed online by Swiss officials have allegedly not provided valid addresses to their banks; they have 30 days to file a request if they don’t want the details of their accounts to be shared; these appeals will be decided by a local court.
“(we are giving) just their names but you don’t know why we’re asking for them…that’s a secret,” Patrick Teuscher, spokesperson for the Swiss Federal Tax Administration, told NDTV in Bern.
Last year, India was among the top three countries that asked Switzerland to supply information about citizens who bank there.
An investigation by Indian tax officials into undeclared or black money funneled into Swiss accounts is being monitored by the Supreme Court. The inquiry is pivoted on a list, shared by France in 2011, of nearly 600 citizens who hold bank accounts at HSBC in Geneva -not all these accounts, however, are illicit, officials have cautioned.
The HSBC list for India was part of a huge catalogue of information leaked in 2008 by former bank employee Herve Falciani. Though Switzerland says it will not elaborate on “stolen data”, Mr Falciani’s disclosures have led to countries including France and Belgium indicting HSBC for facilitating tax fraud.
“At the moment we don’t react to requests on stolen data but that could change. We don’t know,” said Mr Teuscher to NDTV.
Sources told NDTV that investigators from many countries are using the “stolen data” but not mentioning its source in the formal requests made to Switzerland for information