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Indians stashed over Rs 20,000 crore in Swiss banks in 2020 – highest in 13 years

Indians stashed over Rs 20,000 crore in Swiss banks in 2020 – highest in 13 years
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Indians stashed over Rs 20,000 crore in Swiss banks in 2020 – highest in 13 years

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Swiss authorities have always maintained that assets held by Indian residents in Switzerland cannot be considered as 'black money' and they actively support India in its fight against tax fraud and evasion.

India was placed at 51st place, ahead of countries like New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Mauritius, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in terms of foreign clients' money in Swiss banks.

Funds held by Indian individuals and firms in Swiss banks rose over 2.55 billion Swiss francs (over Rs 20,700 crore) in 2020 marking the highest level in 13 years.

This is also a reversal of a two-year declining trend. Comparatively, the aggregate funds of Indian clients with Swiss banks at the end of 2019 stood at 899 million Swiss francs (Rs 6,625 crore).

The figures stood at a record high of nearly CHF 6.5 billion in 2006, after which it has been mostly on a downward path, except for a few years including in 2011, 2013 and 2017, as per the Swiss National Bank (SNB) data.

There was a sharp surge in holdings via securities and similar instruments, though customer deposits fell, annual data from Switzerland's central bank showed on June 17.

Swiss authorities have always maintained that assets held by Indian residents in Switzerland cannot be considered as 'black money' and they actively support India in its fight against tax fraud and evasion.

An automatic exchange of information in tax matters between Switzerland and India has been in force since 2018. Under this framework, detailed financial information on all Indian residents having accounts with Swiss financial institutions since 2018 was provided for the first time to Indian tax authorities in September 2019 and this is to be followed every year.

In addition to this, Switzerland has been actively sharing details about accounts of Indians suspected to have indulged in financial wrongdoings after submission of prima facie evidence. Such exchange of information has taken place in hundreds of cases so far.

Overall, customer deposits in all Swiss banks rose in 2020 to nearly CHF 2 trillion, which included over CHF 600 billion of foreign customer deposits. While the United Kingdom topped the charts for foreign clients' money in Swiss banks at CHF 377 billion, it was followed by the United States (CHF 152 billion) at the second spot -- the only two countries with 100-billion-plus client funds.

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