Swiss banks ask India to make ‘justified’ requests

As India steps up pressure on Swiss authorities in its pursuit of alleged black money, banks in Switzerland say they follow strict rules and the requests from Indian authorities must be ‘properly justified’.

The Association of Foreign Banks in Switzerland, an over four-decade old grouping, is also of the view that a clear and transparent policy can help in dispelling ‘apprehensions’ and the ‘conjectures’ should not be allowed to dominate the public opinion.

To bring back illicit money stashed away overseas, India has recently made a fresh request to Switzerland to seek bank details of such entities.

‘India should be aware that its reputation in Switzerland as a country with a proper legal system and functioning rule of law has been seriously hampered as of late for reasons not related to financial matters. But the mistrust spills over in other matters,’ the Zurich-based association’s general secretary Martin Maurer said.

Indian money in Swiss banks rose 43 per cent last year to close to 2.03 billion Swiss francs (Rs 14,000 crore), as per the latest data from Switzerland’s central banking authority Swiss National Bank (SNB).

Incidentally, two ‘big banks’ in Switzerland — UBS and Credit Suisse —account for nearly two-third of such funds. When contacted, an UBS spokesperson said, ‘While we do not comment on specific cases, UBS applies the highest international standards worldwide in the fight against money laundering and corruption.

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