India to Look into Swiss Bank’s Denial to Provide Details of Indian Clients

Indian Government will look into the matter of rejection by Swiss banks to hand over details of the Indian clients, said Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday.

“What can I comment? I will look into the matter and discuss the Swiss Banks rejection to disclose the details with authorities in banking sector,” Mukherjee told media persons before entering his North Block office.

Citing Swiss law and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Model Tax Convention, Swiss Bank authorities had earlier rejected India’s request to divulge details of clients. The two aforementioned entities do not permit fishing expeditions.

The officials at Swiss Bank said that they were not going to co-operate in indiscriminate search through bank accounts in the hope of finding something interesting.

“This means that India cannot simply throw its telephone book at Switzerland and ask if any of these people have a bank account here,” a top Swiss Bankers Association official said.

Sources said that the confidentiality of the clients of the bank is not 100 per cent absolute and there are provisions built by Swiss legislators that provide for lifting confidentiality during criminal investigations and also in many civil cases and it has also evolved over time.

“The key for the exchange of information in tax matters is the Double Taxation Agreement between Switzerland and India,” said SBA’s Head of International Communications James Nason.

Double Taxation Agreements are being currently revised to incorporate the OECD standard on the exchange of information in tax matters according to the OECD’s own Model Tax Convention.

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