Millennium Post

Switzerland commits to cooperate in India’s black money fight

Switzerland commits to cooperate in India’s black money fight
To consider providing ‘administrative assistance’ to foreign countries, which would include India, in such cases, a proposal would be moved in the Swiss Parliament in the second half of this year, Switzerland’s Economic Affairs Minister Johann N <g data-gr-id="28">Schneider Ammann</g> said here on Friday.

Ammann, who is in India on a three-day visit, said Switzerland is sensitive to the fact that the issue of black money is very important for India and needs to be resolved.

“Switzerland has decided to follow international standards, including those framed by OECD, in sharing information and providing assistance to foreign countries probing such cases, but we have to ask our Parliament to make changes in our laws,” he said at a select media briefing.

Ammann said the Swiss government is committed to <g data-gr-id="30">resolve</g> this issue and the Federal Council, the apex decision making body in Switzerland (equivalent to Cabinet in India), has decided to provide a ‘clarification’ to the Parliament on legal situation on administrative assistance in cases of stolen data.

When asked whether the new black money law passed in India would have ramifications for Swiss banks, the Minister said it was too early to talk about that as the procedures and the law itself first needs to be understood.

Under the new law, those found to be stashing illicit funds in foreign locations, including Swiss banks, would face strict penal action, including up to ten years in jail and a penalty of 90 per cent of funds in addition to 30 <g data-gr-id="32">per cent</g> tax levy.

However, a one-time ‘compliance window’ will be provided before the law comes into force and this would let the persons with foreign assets <g data-gr-id="36">to come</g> clean by payment of 30 <g data-gr-id="38">per cent</g> tax and 30 <g data-gr-id="39">per cent</g> penalty. The Swiss Minister, who had meetings with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Skills Development Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy, said he also discussed bilateral trade ties, Free Trade Agreement and other issues of mutual interest in his meetings.

India presses Switzerland for info on Indian accounts
India on Friday pressed Switzerland to share information on Indians who have admitted to having accounts in Swiss banks and expressed readiness to sign a bilateral pact on automatic sharing of information with it. This was conveyed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley when the visiting Swiss Economic Affairs Minister Johann N Schneider-Ammann met him here on Friday evening. Jaitley recalled that in October last year it was agreed that if India gave “additional evidence over and above the stolen information of the HSBC accounts”, Switzerland will “cooperate in confirming” that “within a time period.” “Since a large number of account holders have made admissions before the Government of India. 

As to whether admissions itself is an evidence on the basis of which they would act, they said indeed they would. “And this precise fact has been reaffirmed in the meeting today. We have made the request to Switzerland and we have asked them to expedite the process of confirmation of details that we have sought,” he told reporters after the meeting. Jaitley said India has also asked Switzerland to sign a bilateral information sharing agreement once it joins the global pact for fighting black money menace. “Additionally, we have also requested them that now that <g data-gr-id="62">Swtizerland</g> has also agreed to join the global mainstream in the fight against unaccounted money by becoming part of the group of nations which will cooperate in the automatic exchange of information,” he said.
M Post Bureau

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