Finance Ministry refutes media reports of alleged black money held by Indians in Switzerland

Finance Ministry refutes media reports of alleged black money held by Indians in Switzerland

Customer deposits have actually fallen from the end of 2019
Key Highlights


Swiss Authorities have been requested to provide the relevant facts along with their view on possible reasons for increase/decrease


The funds held through fiduciaries has more than halved from end of 2019

New Delhi: Finance Ministry on Saturday refuted news media reports of alleged black money held by Indians in Switzerland. Reports surface on Friday which stated that funds parked by Indian individuals and firms in Swiss banks, including through India-based branches and other financial institutions, jumped to over Rs 20,700 crore in 2020 on a sharp surge in holdings via securities and similar instruments, though customer deposits fell.

“Certain reports have appeared in the media on 18.06.2021 stating that funds of Indians in Swiss Banks have risen to over Rs 20,700 crore (CHF 2.55 billion) at the end of 2020 from Rs 6,625 crore (CHF 899 million) at the end of 2019, reversing a 2 year declining trend. It has also been stated that this is also the highest figure of deposits in the last 13 years,” the Ministry said in a statement.

Media reports allude to the fact that the figures reported are official figures reported by banks to Swiss National Bank (SNB) and do not indicate the quantum of much debated alleged black money held by Indians in Switzerland. Further, these statistics do not include the money that Indians, NRIs or others might have in Swiss banks in the names of third–country entities, it added.

However, the customer deposits have actually fallen from the end of 2019. The funds held through fiduciaries has also more than halved from end of 2019. The biggest increase is in “Other amounts due from customers”. These are in form of bonds, securities and various other financial instruments, the Ministry further clarified.

Exchanges of Financial Account information in respect of residents of each country have taken place between both countries in 2019 as well as 2020. In view of the existing legal arrangement for exchange of information of financial accounts (which has a significant deterrent effect on tax evasion through undisclosed assets abroad), there does not appear to be any significant possibility of the increase of deposits in the Swiss banks which is out of undeclared incomes of Indian residents.

It is pertinent to point out that India and Switzerland are signatories to the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (MAAC) and both countries have also signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) pursuant to which, the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) is activated between the two countries for sharing of financial account information annually for calendar year 2018 onwards.

The following factors could potentially explain the increase in deposits:


Increase in the deposits held by Indian companies in Switzerland owing to increased business transactions

Increase in deposits owing to the business of Swiss Bank branches located in India

Increase in Inter- bank transactions between Swiss and Indian Banks

A capital increase for a subsidiary of a Swiss Company in India and

Increase in the liabilities connected with the outstanding derivative financial instruments

The Swiss Authorities have been requested to provide the relevant facts along with their view on possible reasons for increase/decrease in the light of the media reports highlighted above, the Ministry added.

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