Money in Swiss banks: India moves to 73rd place, UK remains on top
Zurich/New Delhi: India has moved up to 73rd place in terms of money parked by its citizens and companies with Swiss banks, while the UK remains on the top.
India had slipped to 88th place with a 44 per cent plunge in such funds during 2016, but the latest data from the Swiss National Bank (SNB) shows an increase of over 50 per cent during 2017 to CHF 1.01 billion (about Rs 7,000 crore).
Pakistan is now placed one place higher than India at 72nd position, down one slot, after 21 per cent dips in funds from that country in Swiss banks during 2017.
The funds, described by SNB as 'liabilities' of Swiss banks or 'amounts due to' their clients, are official figures disclosed by Swiss authorities and do not indicate to the exact quantum of the much-debated alleged black money held in famed safe havens of Switzerland.
The official figures, disclosed annually by Switzerland's central bank, also do not include the money that Indians, NRIs or others might have in Swiss banks in the names of entities from different countries.
It has been often alleged that Indians and other nationals seeking to stash their illicit wealth abroad use multiple layers of various jurisdictions, including tax havens, to shift the money in Swiss banks.
Also, with Switzerland putting in place an automatic information exchange framework with India and various other countries, the famed secrecy walls of Swiss banks are said to have crumbled. India will start getting this automatic data from next year, while it has already been getting information on accounts where proof of illicit funds can be furnished.
However, the increase in Indians' money in Swiss banks has already triggered a sharp opposition attack on the government, which in turn has said that it would be wrong to assume that all funds deposited in Swiss banks were 'black money' and strong action would be taken against wrongdoers.
The funds officially held by Indians with banks in Switzerland now accounts for only 0.07 per cent, though up from 0.04 per cent a year ago, of the total funds kept by all foreign clients in the Swiss banking system, as per an analysis of the latest figures compiled by the SNB (Swiss National Bank) as on 2017-end.
India was placed at 75th position in 2015 and at 61st in the year before, though it used to be among top-50 countries in terms of holdings in Swiss banks till 2007. The country was ranked highest at 37th place in the year 2004.
The total money held in Swiss banks by foreign clients from across the world rose by about 3 per cent to CHF 1.46 trillion (about Rs 100 lakh crore) in 2017.
In terms of individual countries, the UK continued to account for the largest chunk at about CHF 403 billion (over 27 per cent) of the total foreign money with Swiss banks. The UK saw an increase of over 12 per cent in such funds.