New Delhi: In a move that has implications for India's fight against black money, the Swiss Government has asked its banks to prevent acceptance of "untaxed assets" in their accounts without violating client confidentiality.
"Banks' existing due diligence requirements are to be extended in order to prevent the acceptance of untaxed assets of foreign clients, including Indians, more effectively.
"The focus is on enhanced due diligence requirements for banks when accepting assets as well as a requirement for foreign clients to make a declaration on the fulfilment of their tax obligations," the Swiss Federal Council,the country's top policy-making authority has said.
However, it opposed the idea of 'automatic information exchange' with any other country, asserting the 'bank client confidentiality' should be respected as far as possible.
Swiss banks are known to have the strongest secrecy clauses globally, which have helped them attract the rich and mighty clients from across the world, but has also given them a 'tax haven' tag.
In a multi-pronged strategy aimed at removing this tag, the council has also proposed that all those past cases should be immediately settled, where assets of foreign clients of Swiss banks have not been correctly taxed.
The steps come on the back of growing international pressure on Swiss authorities to act against any possible hoarding of illicit and untaxed money in Switzerland-based banks by people from different countries, including India.
Earlier this month, the CBI Chief had said at a function that Indians are the largest depositors in Swiss banks. Within days, the Swiss Embassy said in a statement that such estimates and statistics lacked evidence and were uncorroborated.