The names of certain Indian individuals and entities came under the scanner of the Swiss authorities during an ongoing exercise to identify the real beneficiary owners of funds held in various banks operating in Switzerland, a senior Swiss government official said. (Agencies)
The list of such persons and entities is being shared with India, while further details would also be provided in due course and all necessary administrative assistance would be made available as well, he said.
Reacting to the development, Justice MB Shah, who is heading the SIT on blackmoney, said that the list would be verified and action would be taken against those found to have kept unaccountable money.
The Swiss government official refused to divulge the identity of the concerned entities as also the quantum of funds involved, citing the confidentiality clause of the information exchange framework between India and Switzerland.
He, however, said that they 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 Indian link of these entities came to the fore after enquiries were made by the banks and regulatory authorities about the source of the funds and the beneficiary ownership of such accounts.
The development comes at a time when the official data published by Switzerland's central bank, SNB, has shown that Indian money in various Swiss banks rose by 43 percent during 2013 to close to Rs 14,000 crore, while including the money held directly by Indian clients and those through fiduciaries or wealth managers.
The Swiss official said that these funds might not necessarily be illicit funds as these clients have themselves declared to be Indians.
He also dismissed claims about Indians having trillions of dollars of black money in Swiss banks, saying that the total size of foreign money from across the world in all 283 banks operating in Switzerland stands at just about USD 1.6 trillion.
Justice Shah also said that "it is not a list of only black money. It is a list of those persons who are also legally vested. It is a combined list. We are asking for the list of the said persons. We will verify it and then take action."
"If it is legal we cannot do anything, If it is illegal or unaccounted money then we take action. It depends on which manner the amount is deposited," he added.
The Swiss government official also said that Switzerland is looking forward to working with the new government in India and it will also extend all possible support to the SIT on blackmoney.
Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, who has been a petitioner in the Supreme Court in the blackmoney case, said, "I am very happy and feeling relaxed and I am hopeful that the NDA government will take the fullest possible advantage of this information.”
Swiss government has been refusing to share details about the Indians named in this 'HSBC list', which was stolen by a bank employee and later found its way to tax authorities in various countries including India.
Despite repeated requests from India, Switzerland has said its local laws prohibit administrative assistance in matters where information has been sourced illegally, including through stolen lists.
They said 'HSBC list' allegedly contains names of Indians and other foreign nationals having ill-gotten wealth in Swiss unit of the global banking major.
India is one of the 36 countries with which Switzerland has signed treaties to provide administrative assistance in tax matters in accordance with international standards.
The names of certain Indian individuals and entities came under the scanner of the Swiss authorities during an ongoing exercise to identify the real beneficiary owners of funds held in various banks operating in Switzerland, a senior Swiss government official said.