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No Information on Black Money List from Switzerland: Finance Minister

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The government has not received any communication from Switzerland about “black money” suspected to be stashed in Swiss banks, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today.

“We are writing to Swiss authorities so that the details or whatever information they have can be expedited and the cooperation between Swiss authorities and the government can bring fruitful results,” said Mr Jaitley, whose BJP had made bringing back black money a key campaign pitch before the recent national election.

The minister was reacting to reports that Switzerland is compiling a list of Indians suspected to have stashed untaxed wealth in its banks and the details are being shared with the government.

Switzerland is currently trying to identify the owners of funds held in various banks, a senior Swiss government official was quoted as saying on Sunday.

“These individuals and entities are suspected to have held untaxed money in Swiss banks through structures like trusts, domiciliary companies and other legal entities based out of countries other than India,” the official said.

He refused to name these account-holders or reveal the size of the funds they held in Swiss banks, citing a confidentiality clause in the bilateral information exchange treaty between the two countries.

The official said Swiss authorities were very keen to work with the new government in India and would also provide all necessary support to the newly set up Special Investigation Team on black money.

After being voted to power, the Modi government set up the 11-member Special Investigation Team to help identify Indians stashing money in foreign accounts. The team is headed by Justice MB Shah, a former Supreme Court judge.

The Supreme Court had repeatedly censured the previous UPA government for failing to take strong steps to recover black money. The UPA had then argued that a mechanism was already in place to deal with tax evasion and black money.and a court-supervised investigation was not needed.

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